Nepal Today

Friday, May 10, 2013

CAPITAL’S MINIMUM TEMPERATURE 17 DEGREES CELSIUS Katrhmandu, 11 May: Capital’s minimum temperature Saturday wil hover Around 17 degrees Celsius. Mercury on a rainy is expected to rise to 31 degrees Celsius. Nnnn DDIFFERENCES ON POLL LAW WILL DELAY OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF ELECTION DEADLINE Kathmandu, 11 May: Leaders from various political parties have expressed differing views on the contentious provisions included in the proposed election-related laws at the all-party discussions convened by the government on Friday, Republica reports. . The parties stood divided over the proposal to downsize the Constituent Assembly (CA), reduce the percentage of the seats to be allocated under the proportional electoral system, the proposal to introduce threshold criteria to secure seats under the proportional quota and the proposed provision to bar an aspirant from running in election if the person is convicted in a criminal case. The draft ordinance prepared by the Election Commission has proposed to downsize the previous 601-member CA to 491 members. As per the new proposal, of the 491 seats, 240 are allocated under the first-past-the-post electoral system and 240 under the proportional quota while 11 others would be nominated by the government. Previously, of the 601 members, 240 were directly elected from the constituencies and 335 were nominated under the proportional quota while other 26 were nominated by the government. Similarly the government has proposed a provision to allow a convicted person to file candidacy only six years after he/she has completed the jail term. UCPN (Maoist) and most of the fringe political parties have strongly opposed the new provisions while Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and some other political parties such as Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have stood in favor of the proposed provisions. "Leaders from various parties said that it wouldn´t be wise to further complicate the situation by introducing new provisions and that the provisions practiced in the previous constituent assembly polls are okay," UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told reporters while emerging from the meeting. "We should be flexible and positive to such views if that helps create conducive environment for polls." However, CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Nepali Congress Vice President Ram Chandra Paudel said that they were for introducing the proposed provisions so that it would help correct some weaknesses seen in the previous legislature. "I have clearly put my party´s views that the proposed threshold provision and the proposal to downsize the CA must be introduced," said Khanal. The EC has proposed that any political party must secure at least one percent of the total valid votes cast during the polls to be eligible to secure seat in the CA under the proportional quota. "We are in favor of introducing one percent threshold criteria and downsizing the CA to 491 members," said Paudel. While some other political parties such as RPP and RPP-Nepal supported NC and UML´s positions, several other parties backed the UCPN (Maoist) party. THORNY ISSUES • Downsizing the CA • Ratio of seats under the FPTP and proportional quota • 1 percent threshold for seats under proportional quota • Candidacy of individual with criminal background "UCPN (Maoist) and majority of other parties stood against the new provisions because it only adds new complications in holding elections," said Prem Bahadur Singh, chairman of the Socialist People´s Party. Also, the parties stood divided over the proposed provision on allowing a candidate with criminal background to run in the election and another provision that makes it mandatory for election candidates to make public their property details prior to filing candidacy. After listening to the opinions of the party leaders and representatives, Chairman of the Interim Election Council, Khilraj Regmi, assured them of holding free and fair elections. He told the leaders that the political parties were the key players of the election, the election commission conducts the polls while "the government is only a facilitator in completing the task." nnnn TWO RUSSIANS MISSING IN LANGTANG Kathmandu, 11 May: Two Russian tourists in a group of four, who were heading for Panch Pokhari located in Sindhupalchowk from Langtang Tilman Pass, have been missing for the last two days. The other two were rescued by a Nepal Army helicopter on Thursday, Kamal Pariyar writes n Republica.. Nepal Army and Nepal Police have been trying to rescue the missing tourists. According to the police, the two missing are Sergey Hcurcin, 52, and his wife Galina Chhukin. Though all four had begun trekking from the same point, the two missing had left the others behind. The two rescued by the Nepal Army are Kirill Semenon, 45 and Alexey Belugin, 44. The four are learnt to have reached Langtang on April 27. DSP Sudeep Giri of District Police Office, Rasuwa said the army helicopter flew the two to Kathmandu. They were admitted to CIWEC Clinic Travel Medicine Center, Lainchaur and were discharged after treatment. The trekking route is located at an altitude of 5,000 meters and is considered perilous, said DSP Giri. “We have been facing difficulties in rescuing the other two due to bad weather conditions,” said Giri, adding that a five-member police team has been deployed to the area to search for the missing tourists. “One prefers to trek along the route with oxygen cylinders, but they seem to have travelled without one,” said Giri. “They have either lost their way or are suffering from health problems. We have been making attempts to establish contact with them.” A Belgian woman was found dead and an American woman had gone missing along the same route three years ago. nnnn


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