Is European Union instigating ethnic conflict in Nepal ?

KATHMANDU, March 23 (Nepal Foreign Affairs)–Stakeholders including the Election Commission and media have strongly criticized the election observation report released by the European Union’s Election Observation Mission to Nepal this week regarding the recently held federal parliament and provincial assembly elections.

In their statements, the stakeholders called the report  ‘unfounded’, ‘misleading’ and ‘bias’ stating that the European Union’s recommendations to Nepal were not acceptable in any ground.

In the press statement, the Election Commission said that the EU report was in contravention with the election observation code of conduct meant for the international election observers and the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the commission.

“Since the report by the European Union appears to be misleading, unfounded and against the international election observation code of conduct the commission entirely rejects the report,” the statement by the commission said.

Meanwhile, the Press Council Nepal condemned the EU election observation report calling it ‘baseless’ and ‘mischievous’.

The government, on Wednesday, had slammed the EU report in a strongly-worded statement.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said that some of the recommendations and comments of the EU’s election observation Report undermined the successful holding of smooth, peaceful and impartial elections saying that these recommendations have also gone against the scope and norms of international election observation.

“The EU report has violated the Election Code of Conduct for International Observers of the Election Commission of Nepal as well as the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of Nepal and the European Union before the elections,” the statement said while criticizing the EU.

The ministry said that EU’s recommendations and comments are a direct challenge to the provisions of the Constitution of Nepal which was promulgated, in line with the inclusive policy reflective of Nepali social structure, by the sovereign decision of Nepali people.

Meanwhile, on Friday, mainstream daily newspapers and online media ran editorials while condemning the EU report over recent elections. Social media has been flooded with criticisms over the EU report.

Similarly, leaders from the ruling and opposition parties have expressed dissatisfaction over the EU report calling it ‘baseless’.

“Comment by the EU’s Election Observation Mission on Nepal’s election system, Election Commission & inclusive system is an attempt to intervene in Nepal’s internal affairs. This is also against diplomatic norms. It should be rejected and opposed by government,” Bhim Rawal, a leader from the ruling CPN (UML), tweeted.

The EU report had suggested the government to consider removing ‘Khas-Arya’ community of Nepal from the reservation quota under the proportional representation electoral system saying that the community is already well-represented.

“Review the impact of the quota system on the ethnic composition of the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies and ensure the measures of affirmative action apply only to groups that are the subjects of negative discrimination,” the EU report said.

Officials said that the EU’s statement may help to fuel ethnic tensions in Nepal by provoking a section of ethnic groups.

Nepal held the two crucial elections simultaneously in two phases on Nov. 26 and Dec. 7, which were seen as a crucial step to implement the milestone new constitution promulgated in September 2015.

The European Union had deployed an election observation mission during these elections at the invitation of Nepalese government and it submitted its election observation report to the government on March 21.



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