Friday, October 05, 2007

EC cancels all election programmes
The Election Commission Friday decided to cancel all election programmes after the government asked it to suspend the Constituent Assembly elections slated for November 22.
Although the commission had finished all the necessary preparations to hold the elections on the given date, the decision has been taken as per the government’s request to suspend the entire election process, the EC stated in a press statement today.
The letter to the EC states that the CPN-M has filed a motion to call for a special House session with two major demands – declaration of a republic and fully proportional electoral system – and that it will take time to discuss the issues, thus the government, as per an agreement reached among the seven parties, requests to suspend all the election programmes.
The letter also has apprised the EC that a new date will be finalized through a seven-party agreement.
The EC admitted that the will of the EC alone was not sufficient to hold the elections, and that the EC was forced to cancel all the election programmes due to the government’s decision.
As per article 63(2) of the interim constitution of Nepal, the government had decided to hold the polls on November 22.
"We thank all the political parties, leaders, the media, the general public and international community for extending their support during the commission’s preparation work for the polls," said joint secretary at the EC, Laxman Bhattarai.
The government today faxed a request letter to the EC to cancel all election programmes, including today’s nominations and the November polls.
A meeting of the seven parties held at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's residence at Baluwatar this morning took the decision.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) Friday said that the party has agreed to suspend the November 22 elections to maintain the seven-party unity and to continue the peace process.
Issuing a press release today, the CPN-M said that the party agreed to suspend the polls unless a decision is taken through the special House session to declare the country a republic and adopt a fully proportional electoral system.
However, the press statement stressed that the party still believes in holding the polls on November 22, provided its demands including an immediate declaration of a republic and the adoption of a fully proportional electoral system are met.
Earlier on September 30, the EC had extended the nomination deadline by five days following the government's request.
A letter from the Prime Minister’s Office this morning to the commission, however, does not mention a new poll date.
The seven political parties during today’s meeting agreed to postpone the November 22 polls.
This is the second time the polls have been postponed.
However CPN-UML, Janamorcha Nepal and Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party have written notes of dissent on the agreement.
CPN-UML leader Jhalanath Khanal had said yesterday, after the meeting, that UML, was of the opinion that the polls must be held on time.
During yesterday’s meeting the parties had agreed to suspend the entire election programmes till the special House session.
While the legitimacy and constitutionality of the government and parliament is being questioned by experts with the polls postponed for a second time, some opine that a further amendment to the constitution could save the legitimacy once the special House session begins.
The CPN-Maoist along with the Left Front and the Nepal Communist Party of Nepal (United) on September 28 had registered a motion at the Prime Minister’s Office seeking a special House session.
As per the constitution, the prime minister has to summon a special House session within 15 days of the filing of the motion.

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