Nepal Today

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Kathmandu, 11 July: China urged constituent assembly elections one day after visiting Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khirshid came visiting and lent support for the vote.
Chinese Ambassador Wu Chuntai pushed for an early vote Wednesday at a meting with Chairman Khil Raj Regmi.
The meeting took place as CPN Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhaya opposed the the vote is in China for talks with the Chinese leadership in Beijing.
 “The envoy stressed that China wanted to see the CA election take place on November 19m” Rajendra Prasad Pandey, press-coordinator of Chairman Regmi.


Kathmandu, 11 July: The Election Commission (EC) has brought in an election code of conduct with effect from July 22, 120 days before the Constituent Assembly (CA) poll scheduled for November 19m Gani Ansari writes in Republica. .

According to EC Spokesman Bir Bahadur Rai, a meeting of the constitutional body held at its central office in the capital on Wednesday endorsed an earlier draft election code with some amendments.

The election code of conduct, which is divided into eight chapters, will be applicable to candidates, political parties, their cadres, the government and its various bodies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and media organizations.

Though the commission had earlier proposed to ban the use of expensive means of transport, including helicopters, for election campaigning, it has now allowed the use of helicopters in 11 remote districts.

“The EC has allowed helicopters to be used for election campaigning in Solukhumbhu, Manang, Mustang, Dolpa, Humla, Jumla, Mugu, Kalikot, Bajhang, Bajura and Jajarkot districts as these districts are remote from the point of view of transport,” Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav told Republica.

The three major political parties --UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML--were sharply divided over the provision banning the use of expensive means of transport, including helicopters, for electioneering purposes.

UCPN (Maoist) had stood against the ban while NC and the CPN-UML were in favor.
In another change to the proposed draft, the EC has reduced the maximum election expenditure allowed to each candidate competing under the proportional electoral system from Rs 100,000 to Rs 75,000, said Spokesman Rai.

As for candidates under First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) system, each one can spend a maximum of Rs 1 million for election campaigning.
FPTP candidates must submit reports to the EC district offices on their funding and expenditures while the political parties should submit their reports to the EC, within 35 days of the announcement of poll results, says the code of conduct.

The EC can fine anyone found in breach of the code of conduct Rs 100,000, and it can annul a candidacy if it is satisfied that there cannot be free and fair election because of violation of the code by anyone.

The EC can bar a candidate from contesting elections for six years if the candidate is found spending beyond the limits set by the election code of conduct.

As per the code of conduct, local authorities should ban the sale of alcoholic drinks after 8 p.m. from the date of filling of candidacies till three days before polling date. Sale of such drinks will be banned altogether from three days before polling till the results are announced.

The election code of conduct also prohibits the government from effecting promotions other than the regular ones. Similarly, the government cannot announce new programs other than those mentioned in the government budget.
According to the code of conduct, election publicity campaigns should not cause any harm to the country´s independence and territorial integrity, the state power, the multi-party system, human rights or the independence of the judiciary.

The EC has prohibited any publicity campaign that can create hatred on the basis of religion, ethnicity, gender or language, among other things.
Polite language should be used while making statements and one must not criticize the private lives of particular leaders or cadres, says the code of conduct. However, one can criticize the policy of any political party or candidate.

As per the code of conduct, election campaigns should not incite gender-related violence and no one should do or encourage others to do anything that is considered offensive as per the existing election-related laws. Election publicity must be gender-friendly.

The code of conduct has prohibited wall graffitti at religious and historical monuments and government buildings. It has maintained that while objecting to someone´s ideology, one should not protest before his/her home.

According to the election code of conduct, political parties and candidates should not deface the pamphlets of rivals. The code has also prohibited the burning of effigies of others during the election campaign.

Property owned by government organizations or bodies should not be used by the political parties or candidates.
The code of conduct has prohibited both private and state owned media from supporting any candidate or political party.

The code of conduct has prohibited the making of any changes in publicity material issued by the election commission. Political parties should also clean up their wall graffitti within 60 days of the announcement of poll results in the respective constituency.

Also, political parties and candidates must inform local authorities about their election rallies and gatherings 24 hours before hand and parties cannot change the venues for such gatherings without permission. Two or more political parties or leaders cannot hold rallies or gatherings at the same place at the same time.

The code of conduct has prohibited the organizing of rallies or gatherings that obstruct vehicular movement. Political parties and candidates will not be allowed to organize torch rallies or rallies with weapons.

The code of conduct has allowed publicity campaigning only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Political parties and candidates cannot engage in any election campaigning from 48 hours before balloting and after the ballot.



Kathmandu, 11 July:: A division has surfaced in the 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya as leaders from 32 member parties of the alliance boycotted a meeting called by CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung on Wednesdaym Republica reports..

Leaders from all the parties other than the CPN-Maoist shunned the meeting to express their strong disapproval of the Maoist party´s move to form a talks team to negotiate with the government and the High Level Political Committee (HLPC).

“We didn´t attend the meeting called for today [Wednesday] because the CPN-Maoist formed the talks team without holding any discussion with other parties in the alliance,” Mani Thapa, chief of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal, a member party of the alliance, told Republica. “It is against the official position of the alliance.”

He argued that the alliance had earlier decided not to hold talks with the present government and HLPC. He said that 32 parties were taken aback by the Maoist party´s decision “as there has been no change in the situation at all”.

Responding to appeals by the government and HLPC for talks, the CPN-Maoist earlier this week had formed a five-member talks committee led by party Chairman Mohan Baidya. The party had been saying that it would sit for talks only with the president, arguing the government and HLPC have no constitutional legitimacy.

“Once Baidya returns home, we will ask him to clarify their move. We will then take a decision,” said Thapa.
Immediately after taking the decision to form the talks team under his own leadership, Baidya left for China.
While the Maoist party´s move as seen as a show of flexibility, Baidya´s visit to the northern neighbor was a swift development at least for leaders from other parties.

CPN-Maoist Secretary Gurung said the 33-party meeting scheduled for Wednesday was postponed until further notice as there was misunderstanding between the leaders of member parties.

“It seems that a misunderstanding has taken place. The upcoming meetings will clear the misunderstandings,” said Gurung.
He argued that his party formed the talks team as the government and HLPC asked the party to form a talks team. “We are for including all the 33 parties,” he said.

The 33-party alliance in the past had been consistently demanding dissolution of the present government saying that formation of government under the leadership of chief justice was entirely against the principle of separation of powers. The alliance had been pressing for forming of a new government under the leadership and participation of political parties.


Kathmandu, 11 July: India has assured early resumption of the long-stalled military hardware and logistics supply to Nepali Army, The Himalayan Times reports..

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, during bilateral talks with his Nepali counterpart Madhav Ghimire yesterday, reiterated that military supply would resume soon as per the understanding reached in the meeting of Bilateral Consultative Group on Security issues that was held in New Delhi early this year.

“Following the successful completion of integration of former Maoist combatants into the Nepali Army and the decision of the Government of Nepal to resume import of stores and equipment for Nepali Army, these materials will be supplied to Nepal over the coming months,” reads a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry of India.

As per the statement, the immediate supplies sought are valued at Rs 1.76 billion. A Nepali Army source said that the supplies sought from India include ammunition, different types of arms and armoured vehicles.

In the course of bilateral talks held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Nepali side drew Khurshid’s attention to the recent floods on the Nepalese side of the border, particularly due to the infrastructure built by the Indian side.

“They also stressed on the need to activate all existing bilateral consultative mechanisms and to maintain the embankments of the Koshi and Gandak under the respective bilateral agreements,” according to MoFA.


Kathmandu, 11 July:: Top Madhesi leaders who met Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid yesterday appeared divided on issues of the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections, The Himalayan Times reports..

According to a Madhesi leader, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chair Mahantha Thakur and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachhadar defended the government’s policy, including the 25-point presidential order and 11-point political agreement; but Tarai Madhes National Campaign Coordinator Jay Prakash Prasad Gupta and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, Nepal Chair Upendra Yadav opposed the government’s policies.

Gupta said Khurshid urged Madhesi leaders to prepare conducive environment for the upcoming polls. “We want to see polls take place on the stipulated date at any cost. Polls will ensure stability and pave the way for Nepal’s prosperity,” Gupta quoted Khurshid as saying, “If polls cannot take place, it could also lead to geopolitical imbalances.”

Khurshid said India had donated 700 vehicles, but that alone would not ensure CA polls. “Political environment is the key to holding the CA polls,” Gupta quoted Khurshid as saying.

Gupta told the Indian Minister that if India wanted to see polls take place at any cost, it should also be concerned about whether the next CA would deliver a new constitution. “I told Khurshid that the last CA failed due to some parties’ unwillingness to adopt the federal system. Now these forces are hell-bent on reducing the representation of Dalits, Madhesis and indigenous nationalities. India should also think about these things,” Gupta said.

In response, Khurshid said it was the Madhesi forces that had spoke of such issues. “I will convey your message to the major stakeholders of Nepal,” Gupta quoted Khurshid. The Madhesi leader said he personally felt Khurshid took serious note of Madhesi concerns.

Sadbhavana Party Chair Rajendra Mahato said he told the Indian minister that the Constituency Delimitation Commission would delimit constituencies in Madhes in proportion to the percentage of its population, a principle set by the interim government. He said he told the Indian minister that in order to prepare conducive environment for the polls, the government should allow genuine Nepalis who have not obtained Nepali citizenship for various reasons, to register their names in the voters’ rolls and if it was necessary to extend the voters’ registration deadline by a few days or weeks.

Mainstreaming cadres of armed groups active in the Tarai also figured in talks with Khurshid. Mahato said he told the minister that the armed groups of Tarai who are holding talks with the government should be treated on par with Unified CPN-Maoist fighters and cases against them should be withdrawn.

Mahato said he told Khurshid that the state could compromise on all issues but not the election date and the current government. “Polls will be uncertain if Khil Raj Regmi’s government is changed and November 19 election date is deferred,” he added.

The Indian minister sought to know the prospects of Madhesi unity. “On the unity question, Madhesi leaders offered their own reasons and Khurshid got the impression that there was slim chance of Madhesi unity, and therefore, he chose not to say anything about it,” Gupta added.


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