Nepal Today

Saturday, April 20, 2013

- PRESIDENT CONCERNED WITH DISPUTES OVER ORDINANCES Kathmandu, 21 April: President Ram Baran Yadav has expressed serious concerns over disputes among political parties regarding the ordinance on the amendment of the Constituent Assembly (CA) Member Act 2007, Phanindra Dahalwrites in The Kathmandu Post.. In a meeting with the Chairman of the Interim Election Government, Khil Raj Regmi, at Sheetal Niwas on Saturday, President Yadav said the law should meet international standards, while defining the eligibility of candidates contesting the elections and that it should be finalised at the earliest. The concerns follow pressure piled by major parties, including the UCPN (Maoist), to remove the provision of banning individuals convicted of criminal offence by a court from contesting elections until six years of the completion of their sentence. “It is an international legal practice to bar individuals convicted of criminal offence, including the ones that prove moral turpitude, from contesting the elections,” a source quoted the President’s Office as saying. “The government and the political parties should take the international standards into consideration while revising the ordinance.” A provision in the draft of the ordinance forwarded by the Election Commission states that a person convicted of murder, theft, robbery, misappropriation of foreign currency, kidnapping, rape, human trafficking, money laundering, bank irregularities, passport misuse, drug, smuggling and jail break, among others, or have shown moral turpitude, can contest elections six years after the completion of their sentences. If the provision is retained, some Maoist leaders convicted of conflict era crimes, including murder, and the post-1990 ministers who were jailed over corruption charges by the Supreme Court will not be eligible to contest the upcoming polls. An aide to the President said the head of state is closely following how the government and political parties will find a meeting point on the draft. “It is purely an issue the government and political parties should decide on the basis of consultations with the Election Commission. The President wants the law finalised at the earliest by meeting the international standards,” the aide told the Post. A government source said discussions are under way at the political level to give the ordinance a final touch. However, no decision has been taken on declaring convicted individuals ineligible for filing their candidacy. “I think that the duration of restriction may be reduced from the proposed six years. However, we will make an arrangement by which candidates convicted of serious crimes will not be qualified to become a candidate in the CA elections,” the source said. Meanwhile, in Saturday’s discussions, President Yadav urged the government to accord top priority to bringing in agitating political parties on the election track, the President’s Press Advisor, Rajendra Dahal, told the Post. Regmi briefed the head of state on the formation of a three-member team led by Home Minister Madhav Ghimire to hold talks with the agitating parties at the formal and informal levels. “Both me and the talks team are holding formal and informal talks with the parties that have different opinions regarding elections,” said Regmi’s Press Advisor Bimal Gautam. Regmi also reiterated that the government would soon announce the date for polls, according to Gautam. nnnn


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