News Digest: Domestic Politics & Governance (January 20 – 26, 2022)

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On January 23, the Deuba government consulted with legal and constitutional experts about the conflicting rules of the Local Governance Act and constitutional provisions about setting the date for upcoming local level elections. The meeting came to a conclusion after the Deuba government decided to amend the Act in order to align with constitutional provisions. If so, local elections originally slated for April-May this year could be delayed.

On January 24, CPN-UML released a statement, the first since Oli was removed as Prime Minister, in which it criticized the current government on multiple fronts: misinterpreting the constitution to facilitate UML party splits, providing inadequate response to the pandemic, failing to handle the economy, foreign relations, and the MCC pact, among other issues.

On January 21, a meeting of the high-level political coordination committee discussed fixing dates for the upcoming local level elections.  CPN (Unified Socialist), Maoist Centre, and Deuba faction of the Nepali Congress were in favor of postponing the elections beyond the Election Commission’s slated deadline of May 2022, whereas CPN-UML leaders were in favor of holding it by the slated deadline.

In a meeting of the ruling alliance on January 21, Maoist Centre chairman Pusha Kamal Dahal and CPN (Unified Socialist) chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal proposed delaying local level elections beyond the slated date of April-May. Previous parliamentary and provincial elections were held on November 26 and December 7 of 2017.

Elections for members of the National Assembly are slated to take place today on January 26. Seats for National Assembly members are divided among parties as follows: Congress (6), Maoist Centre (5), CPN (Unified Socialist) (5), Janata Samajbadi Party (2), Rastriya Janamorcha (1). Candidates from respective parties have been finalised for all 19 seats.

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