05/30/2017, 13.01
NEPAL
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Second phase of local elections postponed. Discontent among minorities

by Christopher Sharma

Date moved to allow the registration of the main Rashtriya Janata party. They ask for the release of executives and more local units in Terai. Meanwhile, the nomadic raute ethnic group, in difficulty because of deforestation, calls for the right to vote.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - There are growing moments of discontent in Nepal in view of the forthcoming local elections. While one of the largest major parties, Rashtriya Janata (Rjp), was allowed nine extra days to register, members of the raute ethnic group are protesting over their denied right to vote.

Yesterday, the government decided to move the date of the second round of elections on June 23 in response to the RJP protests, which advanced some demands including a constitutional amendment. In particular, the RJP requests the release of some of its executives arrested after a protest in Terai and the increase in the number of Terai local units on the basis of the population.

The government expressed its support for discussion, but it is opposed by the main opposition party, the United Marxist Leninist Party (UML), which considers such a constitutional amendment contrary to the national interest that could represent a motive for division in Country.

Meanwhile, the raute community is also protesting The ethnic minority lives in the jungles and hills of Nepal, and is without the right to vote. Their main source of nutrition is game, jungle roots and fruits and their only source of livelihood is firewood. For a long time they have been a nomadic community and because they had no fixed residence, have been denied the right to vote, and often also citizenship. They now demand that the government address their plight.

The "mahamukhiya" (main community leader) Man Bahadur Shahi, part of a group of 135 people, in Dailekh district, northwestern Nepal, one hundred of whom are of voting age, told AsiaNews: "We are asking the government to give us the right to vote. If we had local representatives, we could present our problems to them. But if the government forbids us to vote, is pushes us to a life in the jungle. "

The raute live in the districts of Daliekh, Kalikot, Surkhet, Salyan, Dang and Accham and are payingthe price of rapid urbanization and deforestation of the area. For the Raute leader Utthan Pratisthan (Raute Uplift Academy), the community should be given the possibility of voting, or they will always remain outside of civil society.

Government spokeswoman Surendra Karki commented: "We have not yet registered them to vote because they continue to move, so it's hard to say where they will vote. But we will try to do it as soon as possible, if not for these elections. "

Karki argues that many programs have been conducted to improve lives and bring them to a "standard" life.

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