Nepal Today

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CHAIRMAN PRACHANDA BEGINS TALKS WITH CHINESE LEADERS Kathmandu, 18 April: Maoist Chairman Prachanda began discussions in Beijing with Chinese leaders Wednesday. Dialogue is expected to continue Thursday. Chairman Prachanda held separate talks with Vice-president Li Yuanchao and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday. Bilateral relations and Chinese investment were Discussed, according to Aide Chudamani Khadka. Talks were also held with academics and economists. Nnnn EC PRESSES FOR EARLY POLL ORDINANCES Kathmandu, 18 April: At a time when political parties are sharply divided over some of the proposed provisions of the ordinance on amending the Election to Members of the Constituent Assembly Act, 2013, the Election Commission (EC) has expressed concern over the delay in getting the ordinance approved, Gani Ansar writes in Republica. . During a meeting with Chairman of the Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi held in Singha Durbar on Wednesday, top EC officials urged him to approve the ordinance at the earliest. “Our main concern in the meeting with the chairman was that the ordinance on amending the Election to Members of the Constituent Assembly Act, 2013 should be issued immediately as the delay has been affecting various activities of EC,” said Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav who was present at the meeting. In response, Regmi told EC top officials to continue preparations for election stating that the Interim Election Council will address the constitutional body´s concern soon. “He (Regmi) told EC officials that the Interim Election Council will approve the ordinance and forward it to the president at the earliest,” said Regmi´s press advisor Bimal Gautam. EC has said that it cannot formulate regulations related to security, candidates and political parties until the ordinance is approved. Political parties are divided over the proposed provisions related to eligibility threshold for seats under the proportional representation electoral system and candidates´ criminal background. EC has proposed that a political party must secure one percent of the total valid votes cast in the election to be eligible for seats under the proportional electoral system. Similarly, it has proposed that persons convicted of criminal offenses or moral turpitude be barred from filing candidacy and be allowed to contest election only six years after completing their sentences handed down by courts or other judicial authority. Commissioner Yadav said they also stressed on creating environment conducive to election. EC officials also briefed Regmi about EC´s recent activities related to election. According to EC officials, the constitutional body will hold discussions on fresh polls with stakeholders in 44 districts from next week. EC is also likely to launch voter registration campaign together with mobile teams of the home ministry that will distribute citizenship certificates. Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety, commissioners Dolakh Bahadur Gurung, Yadav, Rambhakta PB Thakur and Ila Sharma and Secretary at EC Narayan Gopal Malego were present during the meeting with Regmi. Nnnn CHIEFS OF CONSTITUTIONAL BODIES ONLY AFTER SUPREME COURT DECISION ON LOKMAN SINGH KARKI Kathmandu, 18 April: The much-awaited appointments in various constitutional bodies have become uncertain after the Supreme Court ordered to halt appointment of former Chief Secretary Lok Man Singh Karki as the head of the anti-graft body, KOsh RajRegmi writes in Republica.. Party leaders involved in the inter-party negotiations said appointments in the constitutional bodies and diplomatic missions abroad is unlikely at least till the apex court gives its final verdict on Karki´s case. “I do not think appointments in the constitutional bodies are likely at least till the final verdict on Karki´s case. Parties may need to sit again for negotiations for a fresh deal should the apex court pass verdict against his nomination,” said a senior NC leader involved in the negotiations. The four major political forces --UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front -- had reached a “package agreement” on appointing Neel Kantha Uprety as chief election commissioner, Karki as the head of CIAA, Kayo Devi Yami as the head of Public Service Commission (PSC) and Bhanu Acharya as the Auditor General. Karki was the nominee of the UCPN (Maoist). The major parties had also reached an informal understanding to recommend other members once the heads of these constitutional bodies were appointed. Responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Om Prakash Aryal, the apex court on March 22 had first issued a stay order to halt the process of appointing Karki as the CIAA chief till April 7. The hearing on his case has been deferred twice already with the next hearing scheduled for April 23. NC leader Dr Minendra Rijal, one of key interlocutors, said the issue has not surfaced in recent inter-party meetings. “Though we have not decided anything about shelving those appointments, I think this will happen only after the Supreme Court gives its final verdict on Karki´s case,” he said. As a section of NC leaders are demanding that all appointments except for that of Election Commission be made only after the election, there are apprehensions that the appointment process could be delayed further. In their four-point demand, 22 CWC members have asked party president Sushil Koirala to refrain from recommending names for appointment as ambassadors and chiefs of various constitutional bodies until the election is held. Koirala will head the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) for one month now as per the agreement between parties to head the committee on a rotational basis. The Regmi-led poll government is very unlikely to take any decision on appointments without consent from HLPC. UCPN (Maoist) Vice Chairman Narayankaji Shrestha said the appointments in the key constitutional bodies should not be delayed further. “Since we have already removed legal hurdles involving these appointments, I will raise the issue in the next meeting of HLPC,” said Shrestha. “It is not good to keep constitutional bodies and ambassadorial positions vacant for long.” Besides constitutional bodies, two key diplomatic missions --New Delhi and New York-have been left without ambassadors for years. While the Nepali mission in New Delhi has remained vacant since a parliamentary committee on International Relations and Human Rights in January 2011 directed then government to recall Nepal´s envoy to India Rukma Samsher Rana for holding an important position in Dabur Nepal, ambassadorial position in Nepal´s permanent mission in New York has fallen vacant after then envoy Gyan Chandra Acharya was appointed as UN Under Secretary General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States in August 2012. Nnnn UML SEEKS ELETORAL ALLIAN CE WITH DEMOCRATIC PARTIES Kathmandu, 18 April: A politburo meeting of the CPN-UML today stressed the need to forge an electoral alliance, both at the centre and at grassroots level, to secure at least two-thirds majority in the upcoming Constituent Assembly election, scheduled to take place in mid-November, The Himalayan Times reports. Today’s meeting also focused on the UML’s election strategy for which the party would first strengthen its organisation before exploring the possibility of an electoral alliance with the likeminded parties. Pra-deep Gyawali, chief of the party’s publicity department, said that the party would put maximum effort to contest the election on its own strength, but would also consider forging an electoral alliance with the democratic forces sharing common agenda on the issues of forms of governance and federalism at the centre or at the grassroots level. The issues of federalism and forms of governance were the two contentious issues on which major parties failed to settle, resulting in the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly on May 27 last year. The UML has been calling for making an electoral alliance among the likeminded parties to contest the election which will determine the country’s political future. In its report, the party reviewed the first CA’s failure to draft the constitution. It said that the CA could not be drafted due to the poor presence of democratic forces in the dissolved assembly. The UML leader said that the party would pitch for multi-ethnicity based federalism, maintaining social harmony and national unity to safeguard the hard-earned achievements of the second Jana Andolan that declared the country a republic as well as a federal state. The politburo meeting has also, according to Gyawali, identified ultra-leftism, ethnic extremism and secessionist tendency as major challenges on keeping intact the national unity and sovereignty. Before embarking on the election campaign, he said that the party would focus on strengthening its organisation and maintaining unity among the party’s entire rank and file. However, today’s politburo meeting was postponed till April 21 as the standing committee required more time to fill the vacant posts in the central committee. The party has already decided to fill the 14 seats fallen vacant in central committee. Gyawali said that the standing committee would take a final call on the names of those to be inducted in the central body. nnnn