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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 72

Nepal clearly heading for polls sans political parties

[b]Nepal clearly heading for polls sans political parties[/b]

By Bikash Sangraula in Katmandu

[b] Katmandu, 17 October, ( [/b]If the municipal and parliamentary polls announced recently by Nepal's royalist government are in any eventuality conducted, they will at best be party-less. The three powers of the country – palace, mainstream political parties, and the Maoists – do not trust each other at all for there to be any possibility of polls of national participation.

Nepal's mainstream political parties are in no mood to give the King's government a semblance of legitimacy by taking part in the polls. The parties also fear that with rightists at the helms of power and the leftists controlling more than 75 percent of the countryside, they are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to polls. The government can manipulate poll results while the Maoists can influence voters through intimidation. And it has been years since Nepal's mainstream political parties went to the villages, with Maoists wrecking havoc in most places and forcing party supporters to leave the villages.

Girija Prasad Koirala, President of Nepal's largest mainstream political party, the Nepali Congress (NC), has said that there is no basis to believe that the King is sincere about polls, especially because the royalist government has announced an ordinance to restrict information flow through the independent media almost simultaneously with the announcement of polls.

"The King is trying to deceive the people by announcing polls on the one hand and muzzling the press on the other," he told this reporter at his residence in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, and Saturday evening.

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