| An anti-monarchy activist protests in Kathmandu. (Reuters)
Kathmandu, Feb. 11 (PTI): In a strong rejoinder to countries which had criticised the recently-held municipal polls, the royalist government in Nepal asked them to refrain from making “insolent”, “baseless” and “unacceptable” comments on its “domestic” affairs.
The government “finds the statements made by a few countries on the municipal polls in Nepal as totally objectionable thus unacceptable, and asks them to refrain from making such insolent comments on matters that fall within the domestic jurisdiction of a sovereign country,” the foreign ministry said.
The government claimed that the elections, which witnessed a very low voter turnout in addition to an Opposition boycott, were held without any incidents of rigging and booth-capturing.
The Opposition had described the polls, the first after King Gyanendra’s takeover in February, 2005, as “a drama to legitimise authoritarian rule”.
The royalist government said it was “incomprehensible why some countries have gone to the extent of deploring the municipal elections instead of appreciating the sincere efforts made to put derailed democracy back on track”.
Countries, including India, the US, Britain, Japan and the EU called polls a “hollow and meaningless exercise” and asked Gyanendra to restore democracy and freedom.
Britain had said the polls were “a meaningless exercise conducted without people’s support”.
India had criticised the election process saying: “Any credible electoral exercise should have the active involvement and participation of all the mainstream parties.”
The US had said the polls held by keeping political activists in detention, restricting media and not inviting international observers were a hollow exercise to legitimise power.
Nepal’s largest donor, Japan, also deplored the way elections were held without broad popular support and regreted that activists of the political parties were arrested in the process.
Earlier, the vice-chairman of the council of ministers, Tulsi Giri called the comments from the international community as “baseless” and said the government would go on to hold parliamentary elections. “The claims are baseless. They have been lying and their comments are a part of a ploy to destabilise Nepal,” he said yesterday.
The Nepali Congress today said the Opposition boycott of the polls had proved to be “highly successful”.
“The international community’s straight evaluation of the polls has proved that the polls were no more than a hollow attempt to legitimise autocratic rule,”a party spokesperson said.
Nepal today announced that government-backed candidates won 29 powerful mayoral seats and another 29 seats were won by independent candidates who were said to support the king.
Results announced by the election commission said candidates from the pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra party won 25 seats while candidates from the pro-government Nepal Sadbhawana party won four.