DEMOCRACY RESOURCE CENTER NEPAL
POLITICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL UPDATES
1. Local election date: The Election Commission (EC) asked the government to fix the dates for local election and provide the report of the Local Level Restructuring Commission to the EC on February 5. The commission decided to write to the Cabinet in response to the letter sent by the government to prepare for the local polls. The EC decided that the letter lacked clarity on the date and whether the elections would be held undertheoldoranewstructureofthelocalbodies.
Meanwhile, some Nepali Congress (NC) leaders have become suspicious about the intention of the Prime Minister in holding the local election. The leaders accused the Maoists of adopting a strategy of prolonging the government through postponing the local polls.Previously, NC and theMaoists had reached an informal understanding ofhandover of the government leadership to NC after concluding the local polls by mid-April. Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) has also blamed the governmentfordelayingthelocallevelelection.
The most important bill related to the election is not yet sent to the President’s office for itsauthentication. Thegovernment will beobliged to announce theelection dates once the Bill on Local Election 2017 is authenticated by the President. The bill has been staying for a week in the parliament secretariat for editing purposes.
2. Election under old structure? The ruling party Nepali Congress Chairperson, Sher Bahadur Deuba said that the local elections should be conducted under the old structure. Deuba added that the elections under a new structure would be impossible to hold before next Jestha (May-June). He stated that it would be difficult to organize elections on the basis of the LLRC’s report while it is being opposed in many districts.
3. Constitution amendment or election? The Maoist-Congress alliance has reassured the Madhes-based parties that it will prioritise provincial restructuring over local election. It decided to announce the dates for local polls only after resolving the conflict over the
constitution amendment bill at a meeting held at the resident of Sher Bahadur Deuba, President of Nepali Congress (N.C.). Earlier, both Deuba and the Prime Minister had separately discussed about the amendment bill with the Madhesi Morcha.
4. Election threshold: Some Madhesi and Janjati Parties have decided to stand against the electoral threshold in the parliamentary elections. Major parties are advocating for the threshold, describing it as an essential step to bring down the number of smaller parties and stop irregularities in parliamentary politics. However, small parties argued that setting an additional restriction is against the spirit of inclusive and proportional representation in politics
1. Locals of Taksera VDC in Rukum picketed and padlocked the District Administration Office in Musikot, demanding the government to make their VDC the center of the proposed Puthauttarganga village council.
EARTHQUAKE RECOVERY UPDATES
1. The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has stated that it will provide the total housing reconstruction grant of Rs.3,00,000 to earthquake victims whose houses were partially damaged in the earthquake. But the criterion for them to receive the grant is that they will need to opt for full reconstruction rather than just repairs. For those who will only repairtheir houses, theNRA has decided to provide them with Rs.1,00,000 as grant intwoinstalments.
2. The Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), Govinda Raj Pokharel, said that the commission was planning to carry out internal structural reforms to cut procedural delays in the decision-making process and make its work more result-oriented.
3. More than 700 households received the second instalment of the housing grant in four most quake-affected districts. According to Central Project Implementation Unit, 600 households in Makawanpur, 73 in Sindhuli, 41 in Gorkha and 6 in Nuwakot ,who were rendered homeless by the earthquake, have received Rs.150,000 each. A total of Rs 11 billion was recently released by the government to distribute the second instalment of house rebuilding grant to earthquake victims in 14 badly affected districts including Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Okhaldhunga, Sindhuli, Kavrepalanchowk,MakawanpurandGorkha.
4. Almost 53% of the verified earthquake victims of the Kathmandu valley received the first instalment of the housing grant. According to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), 22,731 victims in Kathmandu, 18,000 victims in Bhaktapur and 9,512 in Lalitpur have received the first instalment so far. However, the earthquake victims of ward number 23 in Kathmandu are still waiting for the first instalment. Similarly, the victims of Ramechhap have also been deprived of the housing aid. They have blamed the government officials and the NRA for being careless while collecting the data of the quake-affected families. The NRA has added 1,641 families in the housing reconstruction aid list in Kavre. Around 21,919 people had registered complaints with the NRA, demanding the housing reconstruction aid.
Note: The weekly update is based on the information from national dailies; it serves as a descriptive summary of what happened in the week.