No new date has been fixed. The Election Commission alone does not have the right to fix a new date.
In a very sad political development in Nepal, the Election Commission today suspended the entire process of Constitution Assembly elections scheduled for 22 November after it received a request this morning from the government to do so. The government, on its part, decided to request the Commission after the alliance of seven parties decided to postpone the electoral process. The seven party alliance (that includes the Maoist) decided to postpone the election programs after the Maoists expressed their unwillingness to participate in the election (without first declaring Nepal a republic and/or adopting full proportional voting system) in a meeting of the seven parties held at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s residence at Baluwatar this morning. The Election Commission that had completed all preparations for the elections thanked all political parties, leaders, the media, the general public and international community for extending their support during commission’s preparation work for the polls.
CPN-UML, Janamorcha Nepal and Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party have written notes of dissent on the agreement, UML leader Jhalanath Khanal said, according to the Himalayan Times. Earlier yesterday, the leaders had agreed to put on hold the election schedule till the special House session after no consensus was reached on Maoists two key demands on republic and electoral system. UML leaders blamed Nepali Congress and the Maoists for the deadlock. The party said it cannot agree on postponing the polls at any cost. Nepali Congress leaders said they opted to postponing the poll process rather than confronting the Maoists. “We thought it was better to postpone the polls rather than confronting the Maoists,” today’s Kantipur daily quotes Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel as saying. (more here)
Reactions: United States embassy in Kathmandu was quick to issue a statement saying that the US was “disappointed at the suspension of the CA election process.” The statement said: “It is important that all parties firmly commit themselves to quickly establish a new election date…. We urge the Government of Nepal, with the full support of all parties, immediately to address the key elements of the Comprehensive Peace Accord which remain unfulfilled and to implement its agreements with various ethnic groups. The period between now and the Constituent Assembly election should be used to show the people of Nepal that the Interim Government is responsive to and can meet its commitments to make a better life for the people of this country.”