Nepal to hold first local elections in 20 years

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Nepalese PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal prepares for local election in 20 years
Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal prepares for local election in 20 years

(dpa/NAN) Nepal’s government announced the dates for the forthcoming local elections on Monday, nearly 20 years after polls were last held for municipalities and village councils in the country.

The last local elections in Nepal were held in 1997.

They were due to be held again in 2002, but the country was at the peak of civil war at the time, and political infighting and frequent power struggles confounded efforts to hold local elections thereafter.

The Nepalese coalition government announced that local elections will be held on May 14, in spite of an opposition threat to launch protest following a breakdown of talks.

The decision came hours after the country’s election commissioner met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and backed the government plan to announce the dates.

It said that the announcement had been delayed due to disagreement over the number of positions up for grabs.

Dahal, who led a 10-year Maoist insurgency that ended in a peace deal in 2006, has vowed to hold the elections, which are warranted by the constitution that was promulgated in September 2015.

The constitution, a key part of the peace deal, was delivered amid protest by Madhesis, which led to the death of over 50 people.

The opposition, led by Madhesis of the southern plains, has refused to participate in the polls without first amending the constitution.

They have announced a series of protest including a shutdown on Wednesday in the country’s southern plains.

According to the Nepalese coalition government, the term of the current parliament expires on Jan. 21, 2018.

Report says the constitution requires the government to hold elections for local bodies, provincial assemblies and new federal parliament before the end of the term.

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