Nepal Today

Thursday, April 25, 2013

GOVT. CHIEF SAYS NO ELECTION ANNOUNEMENT IN HASTE Kathmandu, 27 April: Chairman of the interim election government Khil Raj Regmi has said that the government is for fixing the poll date only after creating strong grounds for it, Republica reports.. He said the government is focused on its main objective of holding election by mid-December and that the poll date would be announced soon. “We want to fix the date only after making certain that we can conduct the polls on the scheduled time and that polls would not have to be deferred,” Regmi told a delegation of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) at the prime minister´s office in Singha Durbar on Thursday. Regmi and ministers of the present government have been reiterating for a couple of weeks that they will not announce the poll date in haste. The previous UCPN (Maoist)-led government had announced the poll date twice but had failed to conduct the election. The FNJ delegation had urged the government to fix the poll date and create election environment across the country. “We told the government head that he should make the public feel that the government is serious about holding elections,” FNJ Chairman Shiva Gaule, who led the delegation, told Republica. According to him, Regmi said the government would fix the date once some of the procedural works, including issuance of election-related ordinances, are completed. FNJ leaders also urged the government to make an arrangement for media persons to be allowed to vote from places where they are based. While security personnel and civil servants are allowed to cast votes from the place where they are based, journalists do not have the privilege. FNJ members made the demand as journalists need to work even on the poll day and it is not possible for most of them to reach their home town or villages to cast votes. “He [Regmi] was positive about our demand and he has assured us that an arrangement would be made for media persons,” said Gaule. Regmi had said that he would seriously talk to the Election Commission and other authorities to make such an arrangement. In the previous CA election, security personnel and civil servants had cast their votes under the proportional representation system. Nnnn 85% POLITICAL FORCES READY FOR VOTE SAYS PRESIDENT Kathmandu, 26 April: President Ram Baran Yadav has expressed hope that the election to Constituent Assembly (CA) would be held on time, saying a favorable situation has been created within and outside the country for the conduct of polls, Suresh Yadav reports in Republica from janajpur/. The president said 85 percent of all the active political forces have already become ready for elections and that as head of the state he was taking initiatives to persuade some dissident political parties, including Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist, to come on board the election process. He also assured the new CA would deliver the constitution to the people as the dissolved legislature has already accomplished a lot of the work and the peace process has already been completed. “Rest assured that the CA elections will be held because political parties and domestic as well as foreign forces are for holding election,” the president told media persons before leaving for Kathmandu. He arrived here at his home village Sapahi in Dhanusha earlier this week. He also said that the election date will be announced soon. “The country will take on a stable political course as the issue of former Maoist army and their arms have already been settled and a strong ground has been prepared for the new CA to produce a new constitution,” he said. Nnnn WOMEN DEMAND 33% REPRESENTATION IN CA Kathmandu, 26 April: Women rights organisations today urged the Election Commission to ensure women’s voting rights and their 33 per cent representation in the Constituent Assembly, Ram Prasad Kaaaaaaaamat writes in The Himalauan Times.. Women rights bodies – the National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD), Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal, All Nepal Women’s Association and Women Skill Development Centre, Hetauda – had submitted separate memoranda to the election body today. Similarly, the Joint Trade Union Coordination Committee (JTUCC), an allia-nce of 11 trade union orga-nisations submitted a me-morandum seeking voting rights for Nepalis working in the Gulf, South Korea and Malaysia. Chairperson Renu Raj Bhandari said her organisation urged the election body to declare the poll date. “Many wom-en lack citizenship in Madhes. Many old and physically challenged women are without citizenship too. We have urged the EC to ensure their voting rights,” she added. Women organisations also demanded to disqualify those candidates who are convicted of violence against women. Bhandari said women human rights activists were facing threats in various parts of the country for advocating CA elections. Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety, however, told women activists that polls were being held in a difficult situation and hence they should be ready to compromise, according to Rajbhandari. Some women organisation urged the EC to deploy more women employees and security personnel to make election process more gender friendly. Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said the EC was not only committed to ensuring women’s rightful share in the CA but also considering what could be the most logical and apt solutions. Some women organisation demanded 40 first-past-the-post seats for women. “There are other ways to compensate the loss that the women might suffer due to reduction of PR seats. They can persuade parties to field two women out of three PR candidates or three women out of five such candidates,” she added. Sharma said reserving FPTP seats for women might do injustice to male counterparts. It cannot be logical to snatch males’ right to ensure females’ right,” she argued. The JTUCC demanded that Nepalis working ab-road should have the opportunity to vote in the polls. “These migrant wor-kers are contributing 25 per cent to our national budget. The government must ensure their voting rights,” said Ramji Kunwar Vice -chair of the NTUC, a constituent of the alliance. The EC, however, told the delegates that this was not possible this time. Commissioner Sharma said Nepal’s readiness alone co-uld not ensure voting rig-hts of the migrant labourers. “Pakistan’s requested Saudi Arabia to help their workers vote in the May elections, but that was turned down by the host country,” Sharma added. General Secretary of National Election Observers Committee Gopal Krishna Siwakoti said ensuring voting rights of migrant workers would be very difficult because the host country might not grant the workers leave on the voting day. He said all migrant workers cannot converge at the embassies nor can they use internet to vote. “In Malaysia, gathering of more than five people is illegal. How can voters discuss poll issues? Can the candidates go to those nations to seek voters’ support?,” Siwakoti wondered. Nnnn ACTIVITIES OF TIBETANS UNDER WATCH IN LALITPUR AHEAD OF ELECTIONS Kathmandu, 26 April:: Metropolitan Police Range, Jawalakhel, has enforced special security plan in view of the upcoming Constituent Assembly Elections, The Himalayan Times writes from Lalitpur. . SSP Rajendra Man Shrestha, MPR in-charge, said the security measures were focused on both urban and rural areas. “The security strategy includes both proactive and reactive responses. Preventive measures against potential crime are our top priority, besides effective crime investigation in the aftermath of felonies,” he informed. According to SSP Shrestha, at least 1,000 cops both in uniform and civvies have fanned out across the district with special focus on transit points, commercial areas, financial institutions, residential areas, airport, public vehicles, movement of VIPs, bus parks, social gatherings, hooliganism, extortion, hotels, restaurants, dance bars, pilgrimage sites, money exchange counters and banks, among others. Police are also keeping tight vigil on ministers’ quarters and the UN building in Pulchowk to check suspicious activities and potential protest programmes of Tibetan exiles. The government’s recent decision to resume voters’ registration process and to deploy citizenship certificate distribution teams across the country had prompted MPR to chalk out strategic preventive measures. Lalitpur was among the many districts where opposition groups including the CPN-Maoist had obstructed employees of the Election Commission from carrying out voters’ registration process, earlier. Nepal Police said of the 48 places where voter’s registration campaign was obstructed across the five regions, the eastern region topped the chart with 14 incidents of obstruction followed by 12 in the central region‚ 10 in western region‚ and six each in the mid-western and far-western regions. SSP Shrestha said that trading and smuggling in illegal weapons, which has increased in the Valley, was also on the priority list of the security plan. Police have further mobilised sniffer dogs and Long Range patrol teams in sensitive areas and rural parts of the district. nnnn


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