KATHMANDU, July 23: The Election Commission (EC) has warned that it will not be able to hold the Constituent Assembly election as scheduled on November 22 if political parties further delay in amending the electoral laws including the Interim Constitution.
The EC made its postion clear during a meeting with Chairman of UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress Vice-president Ramchandra Poudel and CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal on Sunday afternoon at the commission.
The deadline set by the EC to amend electoral laws including the Interim Constitution expired on Sunday.
"They [Dahal, Khanal and Poudel] told us that they would forge consensus at the earliest, but if there are further delays, the date of the election could be pushed back," Acting Chief Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety told journalists after the meeting.
When asked about how many more days the EC would provide for political parties to reach consensus on the CA polls, Uprety said, "It could be five, seven days or nine days." He added, "Mathematically, we need 120 days [from the day legal and constitutional grounds are readied] to complete poll arrangements, but it could be few days less considering political consensus."
During the meeting the EC officials urged the top leaders to make legal and constitutional grounds before setting date for polls. "Make it clear which elections (CA or parliamentary) and how it would be held when announcing the polls date," said Uprety.
In response, Dahal said they would take initiatives for consensus from Monday. "There is no alternative to forge consensus as the legal and constitutional hurdles cannot be removed without it," Dahal told media persons, adding, "We will work to forge consensus from tomorrow (Monday)."
Khanal and Poudel reiterated that the CA elections cannot be held on the scheduled date stating that it was announced unconstitutionally by the government.
"There is no meaning to extend the deadline for amending the Interim Constitution as the election cannot be held on November 22," Khanal said.
Poudel claimed that the present government has yet again failed from its responsibility by not being able to amend the Interim Constitution as sought by the commission.
Earlier, the EC had urged the government to amend the Interim Constitution, the Constituent Assembly Act, the Election Commission Act and the Voters Roll Act last month by July 22.