The local election, which was successfully conducted nationwide in a single phase on Friday, marked another democratic feat for the country that embraced the federal system through the promulgation of new constitution in 2015. Now all eyes are focused on the results of elections that are pouring in. The vote counting in metropolises, sub-metropolises, and urban municipalities are still in initial phase. The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has led in most of the places followed by the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre. If we analyse the preliminary outcomes of vote counting, it provides changing voting pattern. The UML that emerged as the biggest winner in the local polls held in 2017 is now trailing behind the NC in the vote counting while the Maoist Centre is making steady rise. Other parties are trailing behind these three forces.
With the successful conclusion of the May 13 local elections throughout the nation, all eyes are now trained on poll results. Voters, psephologists, media, poll watchers, political parties, leaders, party workers and common people at large are awaiting the result in all 753 local bodies with a bated breath. The importance of the just concluded poll lies in the fact that it has not only encouraged voters to utilise their constitutionally guaranteed right for electing local representatives but has also assisted in strengthening democracy at the grassroots. Because of voters' enthusiastic participation in voting as a celebration, the government spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communication Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki thanked them.
Today (May 13) is an important day for Nepali people as they are electing their representatives in 753 local levels nationwide. This is the second local election being held after the introduction of the federal democratic constitution in 2015. The first three-tier elections (local, provincial and federal) were held in 2017. Voters are having a valuable opportunity to vote for representatives to fill a total of 35,221 positions from a total of 145,112 candidates this year. As many as 79 political parties are in the local poll fray while a host of independent candidates have filed their nominations for different positions. There are altogether 21,000 polling booths across the nation which remain open from 7am to 5 pm.
The country has entered a 48-hour silence period from Tuesday midnight in order to create an environment conducive to holding the local polls, slated for May 13, in a fair, free and peaceful manner. Within this period, the political parties, candidates and their supporters are not allowed to get involved in any poll campaign activities – physically and virtually. It starts 48 hours before the start of polling at 7:00 am and till the voting centres are closed at 5:00 pm. The Election Commission (EC) has completed all logistical and administrative preparations before enforcing the ‘silence period’ that is crucial to maintain the fairness and sanctity of the poll considered the cornerstone of the democratic polity. The legitimacy of the system is enhanced and broadened if the validity of the process and outcomes of the polls is not questioned.
Nepal is at the last preparatory stage of holding its local level elections slated for May 13, Friday. The silence period of 48 hours prior to the start of voting is in effect from Tuesday midnight. Political parties, cadres and candidates have conducted their election campaigns largely peacefully across the country. As many as 17,733,723 voters will exercise their adult franchise in this crucial democratic event. They will be in the polling stations to cast their votes to pick the candidates of their choice. They have this democratic opportunity to give mandate to their local level representatives for the coming five years.
Necessary preparations for the local elections are being made in full swing across the country. The government, the Election Commission (EC), security bodies and other machineries have geared up for holding the May 13 local polls in a free, fair and fearless environment. As the date for the polls comes closer, the political parties, their candidates and independent contestants have intensified poll campaigns. With the support of the Nepali Army (NA), ballot papers have already been transported to all the districts. The NA has initiated the process of taking the ballots to all the 753 local levels. The EC has intensified efforts to implement the poll code of conduct in letter and spirit. The election body has alerted different candidates, journalists and others against the defilement of the poll code and other election-related laws. Such a proactive role on the part of the EC is expected to help ensure a free poll. Periodic free elections are the foundation of democracy as they enable people to elect their representatives.
Gorkhapatra, the country’s oldest publication, celebrated its 122nd anniversary, the other day. A living witness to the nation’s political, economic, social and cultural vicissitudes, the Gorkhapatra has been disseminating official and unbiased information to the readers. Its role in raising the people’s socio-cultural consciousness has been hailed by all segments of the society. It has been continuously running since it first came out in 1958 B.S. This is indeed a rare feat in the media sector in the entire South Asian region. By bringing out special pages in 38 national languages, it has helped protect and promote various languages from being extinct. The daily has transformed itself into a robust public media though many regimes came and went in course of time. It is striving to move with pace of time in terms of content quality, look enhancement, technological adoption and market outreach.
As Nepal heads to local polls, slated for May 13, electioneering has picked up throughout the country. The candidates vying for various posts at their respective local bodies have now been involved in a door-to-door campaign, asking for votes from voters. Many central level leaders of different political parties have a busy schedule these days, attending mass rallies and mass meetings held in various parts, in their bid to boost the chances of party candidates' victory in the polls. The major political parties that have formed their alliances have done their utmost to win elections at local units. A victory in the upcoming polls will consolidate the parties' opportunity to win the provincial and federal parliamentary elections, due in six/seven months. However, the rebel party candidates belonging to all political parties have turned the present elections into an interesting battle. Election periods noneth
Nepali economy has been grappling with numerous problems and challenges, including a fall in foreign exchange reserves, in the post-COVID scenario. The pandemic has hit almost all the sectors of the national economy. The remittance sector that is the biggest source of foreign exchange earnings of the country has remained affected. Tourism is considered to be the second largest sector to contribute to foreign currencies. As a fragile sector, tourism was in the doldrums following the outbreak of the pandemic. This sector, however, has begun bouncing back with a remarkable drop in COVID-19 infections. If tourism keeps on reviving, it may help bolster foreign exchange reserves. However, Nepal’s economy, which is mostly import-based, has continued to witness a widening trade imbalance as the country has to pay a lot of foreign exchanges for goods and services. The government, however, has adopted some urgent measures to reduce trade deficit and shore up foreign currency reserves.
The Press Freedom Day was celebrated globally amidst a variety of programmes on May 3. This year the Press Freedom Day carried the theme of journalism under digital siege, which sheds lights on the challenges posed by the internet journalism. In advanced countries, journalists have come under surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks, with negative repercussions on the credibility of digital media and press freedom. Modern technology has opened new scope and scale of journalism profession but at the same time there is the risk of the abuse of media freedom. People with vested interests can manipulate the constitutionally guaranteed media rights to meet their parochial objectives. The Press Freedom Day is a moment to reflect on the cardinal values of journalism and the contribution of journalists to disseminate correct information to the public and enhance transparency and accountability in the society.
Free and fair election is a prerequisite of a functional democracy. The given political system derives its legitimacy only when the elections are credible and accepted by major domestic actors and international community. Nepal federal republican setup has been further enhanced with the periodic polls. The second local polls, slated on May 13 this year, will be another milestone in deepening the grassroots democracy. It will elect fresh representatives in all the 753 local bodies. In order to conduct the polls in impartial and peaceful manner, the Election Commission (EC) has enforced the election code of conduct since midnight of April 8. It is applicable for the government, its ministers, public institutions, local bodies, constitutional bodies, political parties, candidates, cadres, election observers, those holding public positions, media, I/NGOs, civil servants and security agencies.
May 1 is an important occasion for working class people worldwide. This day is celebrated as International Workers’ Day. In the late 1800s, a huge labour movement had been launched in different parts of the world, including the United States, to protect the rights of the workers. Many American employees and workers had voiced against the harsh labour laws and violation of their rights, adverse working conditions and long working hours. A lot of workers had also sacrificed their lives. Promoted by the international labour movement, the day is also known as Labour Day or May Day. The date was selected in 1889 by the Marxist International Socialist Congress for political reasons. The organisation that met in Paris founded the Second International as a successor to the previous International Workingmen's Association. The gathering adopted a historic resolution for a gigantic international demonstration in support of demands raised by the working class for reducing the 16-hour workday to eight hours. This working hour has been accepted universally since then.
Medical education is perhaps the most rigorous academic pursuit that demands dedication, hard work and perseverance. Being a science-based education, medical study is time-consuming requiring sharp clinical skills to minutely assess the biological nitty-gritty of human and animal bodies. A dedicated medical student can fare better only when s/he enjoys sound pedagogic atmosphere backed by proper financial support, medical infrastructure including labs, experienced teachers and stress-free practicing hours. A medical student cannot become a good physician if his/her academic career is bogged down by incessant conflicts with college management over tuition fees, stipends and other incentives.