Nepal on schedule to hold polls next month, Foreign Minister tells UN
The Nepalese Government is determined to hold elections for a Constituent Assembly on time next month, its Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today, voicing hope that a “new Nepal” would soon emerge from the Himalayan country’s ongoing peace process.
Addressing the annual high-level debate at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Sahana Pradhan said the Government was engaged in dialogue with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) to ensure that the polls are held as scheduled on 22 November.
Mrs. Pradhan said the country’s independent Election Commission was making the necessary preparations to conduct the balloting and she invited other countries and organizations to send observers to monitor the polls.
“We are committed to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion,” she said, acknowledging that it has faced serious challenges in recent months. The polls were originally slated to take place in mid-June but had to be postponed due to technical problems and the onset of the monsoon season.
Mrs. Pradhan noted that the Government has concluded agreements with the leaders of the Madhesi and Janajati movement recently that will allow those communities “a stronger voice in the political dispensation and a more inclusive representation in the Constituent Assembly.”
An estimated 13,000 people were killed during the decade-long civil conflict that came to a formal end when the Government and the Maoists signed a peace accord late last year, and the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is now in place to help shepherd the country through the transition process.
The Foreign Minister said the Nepalese had voiced their desire “for an inclusive, democratic and participatory restructuring of the State” that is also peaceful.
“I have every confidence that the peace process will reap numerous dividends to the Nepalese people to create a ‘new Nepal.’ We expect generous assistance from our development partners in this process, including in Nepal’s reconstruction and development needs.”
She added that the Government was also determined to end the climate of impunity that pervaded during Nepal’s armed conflict, and it is carrying out plans to set up a truth and reconciliation agreement as mandated under the peace accord.