Taranath Dahal
Civic-Government Trust to Achieve SDGs government. However, the forms of these governments are yet to be functional. The local government is the foundation of the government. As many as 744 local levels havetate restructuring is one of the phenomenal changes ensured by the new constitution in Nepal. The new constitution has also provided the three-tier of government. However, the forms of these governments are yet to be functional. The local government is the foundation of the government. As many as 744 local levels have been determined by the government to suit the changed system of governance- the federal set up. It is not however the final, for it can be increased.

Despite this, Nepal has recently conducted the elections in 600 local levels. The local level election has not only devolved the authority, long concentrated at the central level, but also empowered people, providing opportunity to exercise their sovereign rights. It also created euphoria among the public igniting hope of change- the change to foster local democracy that helps propel the development activities with their participation. The local democracy would be further strengthened across the country as the government has planned to hold the local level election in the remaining Province No 2 by coming mid September. Once the election is held successfully in Province No 2, the formation of foundational government- the local government- would be complete.

As per the constitutional provision, the country is mandated to hold the two more elections for the provincial and federal (central) parliaments by the end of January 2018. But, here is the problem- the dispute among the political parties on provincial borders. The election for the provincial parliaments should be held by settling the dispute. Another challenge is the determination of constituency. Once the constituency is determined, it paves way to fix the number of representatives in the provincial assembly. Some of the political parties centered on southern plains are still adamant on focusing more on populations than on geography rather than taking these two as equal factors to elect representatives. Similarly, another task pending before the political parties is to determine 165 constituencies for the parliament and federal assembly as mentioned by the constitution. If the political leaderships prepare the atmosphere conducive to election by forbing agreements on the above mentioned issues, Nepal is likely to enter into the new structure by the first quarter of 2018. And it would be the first step towards the exercise of federal democratic republic. The prolonged political transition is however not only obstructing the country to gain the pace as per the expectation but also keeping people aside from enjoying the benefits of the rights ensured by the constitution. In order for the open, transparent and accountable democratic system to advance with positive change in people’s lives, the democratic functionaries must be equipped with rights. The major concern facing us at present is and must be to develop the State mechanisms to suit the democratic values which would help found democratic culture and behaviors.

At a time when the country is undergoing the inclusive and democratic nation building process, we believe that the issues we’re engrossed, and campaigning for hold significant importance. Once the foundation of the freedom of expression and opinion are made robust, it would ensure the atmosphere conducive to the political and civil liberties in future. We further do believe that it would create informed citizenry and accountable governance to materialize the dream of socioeconomic changes and prosperity.

The first and foremost interest and concern of Freedom Forum is to see the improved press freedom, continuous watchdog role of media with credibility and professionalism intact, easy and unobstructed access of people to information, free flow of people’s views irrespective of community and the region, and the vibrant and safe atmosphere for free reporting. Accountable media makes vital base and human resources for building inclusive and prosperous Nepal. FF has concentrated its attention for this very agenda. We are firm that FF’s active and engagement in these issues contributes significantly to the protection of freedom of expression and media fraternity. Since the inception of the FF, we are untiringly working for free flow of information which advocates for open and transparent culture to bring meaningful change in people’s lives. This campaign is after all aimed at making Nepal able to achieve the sustainable development goals. In order to achieve this, we wish high level of understanding, trust and cooperation between the civic and government level, so that Nepal could transform into a prosperous nation.

Source: Message from Executive Chief   
Free Expression, Issue 38, April to June 2017