Nepal will hold general elections in a single phase on November 20 as proposed by the Election Commission, a Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba decided on Thursday, putting an end to speculation that polls could be postponed to February.
The ruling coalition government announced the dates for polls for the House of Representatives and the Provincial Assembly elections.
As per the latest announcement, both the elections will be held on November 20 in a single phase. The Himalayan nation will hold the elections of the members of the House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly on November 20, according to sources in the Cabinet.
There are a total of 275 seats in the House of Representatives in Nepal, and out of that 165 members are directly elected.
Earlier on Wednesday, the ruling alliance agreed to hold the polls on November 20.
The Election Commission has long been saying that it needs 120 days to prepare for the elections. If elections are held on November 20, the commission will have 112 days for the preparations, The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.
That will be enough, Dinesh Thapaliya, chief election commissioner, told the daily on Sunday.
In the Nepali Congress-led coalition, the CPN (Maoist Centre), the CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janamorcha are partners.
The government was facing criticism for not declaring the election date even after the commission recommended a date.
As per the existing laws, the government announces election date(s) in consultation with the poll commission.
Some leaders within the alliance, particularly from the CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN (Unified Socialist), were of the view that the elections could be postponed to February.
But the Election Commission said that since the last general election was held in November-December of 2017, it was not wise to defer it to February 2023.
Prime Minister Deuba has long been saying that elections would be held within November, the report said.
Main Opposition leader and Chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) (CPN-UML) K P Sharma Oli, while reacting to the government decision during an interaction with journalists here, welcomed the announcement of the polls.
We welcome the decision to hold elections, which is also natural, he said.
The previous elections for the lower house and assemblies of the country's seven provinces were held in two phases on November 26 and December 7 in 2017.