Wanted: Candidates for Municipal Elections

Nepal opposition boycott leads to difficulty filling posts

[Update: Jan. 27, 3:30 p.m. (KST)]

According to election commission data, of the total 4,146 posts, 3,255 candidates filed nominations across the country.

The husband and wife candidates in Banepa municipality running for mayor and deputy mayor respectively — Ganesh Lal Shrestha and Lila Devi Shrestha — won the election by default, since they were uncontested.  A day after oxen and dogs appeared as protest candidates, Thursday was filing day for “real” candidates in Nepal’s upcoming municipal elections, the most controversial in its history. Only a few candidates showed up, and the Council of Ministers immediately held an emergency meeting at the Royal Palace.

The chairman of the council is the king himself, after he assumed direct rule last Feb. 1. 

According to the latest information from the RSS, the government-controlled news agency, in 58 municipalities there are 4,146 openings, with nearly 1,000 candidates filing. Of these, one-third are running uncontested.

In the capital of Kathmandu there were about 500 posts open, but only 250 candidates had filed. There were only 10 candidates for the post of mayor, mostly independents, as all the major political parties had decided to boycott the election, claiming that the elections do not address the crisis the country is facing.

One interesting nomination came from Banepa municipality, where a couple filed for both the posts of mayor and deputy mayor. Husband Ganesh Lal Shrestha is running for mayor, and his wife, Lila Devi Shrestha, is running for deputy mayor.

Radha, sole candidate for ward president
©2006 Umesh

Also, a lady peon, or attendant, from a local school in Kathmandu filed her candidacy for the uncontested eighth ward in Kathmandu municipality, winning by default.

“I don’t know what I should do. Do I have to give a speech too?” she asked the journalist. “Why are they taking so many photographs of me?” she asked this citizen journalist, innocently.

Authorities have not released the whole list of candidates to the media, citing security reasons. Armed Maoist rebels had already warned that they would take action against candidates and government employees.

They had already shot and killed a candidate from the eastern zone last week.

As most of the posts remain vacant the election commission announced that it would publish a separate call for a new list of candidates.

©2006 OhmyNews Published 2006-01-27 12:41 (KST)


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