Sep 252015
 

Major laws have to be passed before local elections can happen - and major laws can take time.

Major laws have to be passed before local elections can happen – and major laws can take time.

The constitution was promulgated on September 20th – and the main reason for postponing local elections in Nepal seems to have vanished! Or has it? Well, if the legislation needed in order to implement the constitution runs smoothly, perhaps local elections – the first since 1997 – will happen within a year. However, it’s major laws that have to be passed, and major laws can take a long time to go through. Above all, seven provinces have to be legally created – along with various provincial institutions – and under the new constitution the country’s 4,000 Village Development Committees (VDCs) are to be re-delineated by a special commission and turned into Village Municipalities.

Trucks stranded at Birgunj border point on Delhi's orders officially due to the continuing unrest over the constitution: will local elections be stranded too?

Trucks stranded at Birgunj border point on Delhi’s orders officially due to the continuing unrest over the constitution: will local elections be stranded too?

If that isn’t enough, protests currently continue in the Terai against the constitution and especially the announced demarcation of provinces. Delhi even seems to insist that the three “Big Parties” in Kathmandu – NC, UML and the Maoists – sit down for talks with the Madhesi and Tharu protesters and listen to their demands. Would that once again mean re-delineating the provinces – and if the three big parties don’t compromise far enough, a backlash into further bandhas and protests? Well, it’s all uncertain – and so, while the future of local elections is brighter than in a decade, when the elections will happen is uncertain, too.

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