Nepal postpones second phase of local elections yet again; dates changed to avoid clash with Ramadan

Kathmandu: Nepal's government postponed the second phase of local elections on Wednesday after the country's Muslim minority community voiced concern over clashing of the poll date with Ramzan, Cabinet sources said.

The Cabinet meeting has formally decided to hold the second phase of local level elections on 28 June. The Cabinet meeting took the decision after consulting the Election Commission on Tuesday. The government took the decision stating that the previously declared date of 23 June coincided with the ongoing Ramazan festival the Muslim community is observing.

File image of Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda. Reuters

File image of Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda. Reuters

Earlier, the government had announced it would hold the second phase of local elections on 23 June, instead of 14 June, as per schedule.

A Muslim delegation had called on caretaker Prime Minister Prachanda to draw his attention to the Ramzan festival and the inconvenience they could face if elections were held on 23 June.

The elections, the first at local level in 20 years and a key step in Nepal's drawn-out peace process that ended a civil war in 2006, have been beset by delays.

In the beginning the government had announced that the first and the second phase of elections would be held on 14 May, but were split into two phases upon objections from the Madhesi. The first phase went ahead on 14 May but the second was delayed earlier this week.

The move to reschedule poll date is aimed at bringing the agitating Madhes-based parties on board the election process. Muslims make up little more than four percent of the population in Hindu-majority Nepal.

Updated Date: May 31, 2017 15:35 PM

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