Sydney: Nepal has failed to improve security for its 22 November elections because political parties aren’t fully committed to the electoral process, the United Nations has said.
Security “will depend not so much on the number of police or arms deployed, but on cooperation between political parties and clear instructions to their activists,” the UN’s expert electoral monitoring team said in a statement on Wednesday. The mission was in Nepal from 27 July to 6 August, its second visit.
Nepal will elect a National Assembly that will decide at its first meeting whether to replace the 238-year-old dynasty of King Gyanendra with a republic. The government agreed to hold elections as part of a peace accord reached with rebels last November, ending a 10-year insurgency aimed at installing a communist republic in the country of 28 million people.
Home minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said last week the rebel Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is undermining elections by terrorizing the public with a threat to stage protests unless a republic is declared before the election, Nepalnews.com reported at the time. The Maoist campaign may prevent people from voting, Nepalnews.com cited Sitaula as saying.
The rebels are also demanding a commission of inquiry into the disappearance of hundreds of people during the civil war. The Advocacy Forum, a Nepalese human rights group, has demanded the government act on last year’s promise to provide information on missing people, Nepalnews.com reported. “Ten months have already passed but the government has taken no meaningful initiatives in this direction,” it said.
The UN also said on Wednesday that Nepal’s media is being obstructed from reporting and distributing newspapers. It cited threats against journalists, particularly in the southern Terai region, and Maoist labour union workers blocking the distribution and circulation of publications.
There is a “need for increased public information and awareness-raising” about the electoral system, the UN said.