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Govt draws EU’s attention over controversial remarks on recent elections

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KATHMANDU — The Government of Nepal has drawn its attention to European Union over controversial remarks made by EU’s Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) in its final report on the House of Representatives and State Assembly elections.

Issuing a press statement on Wednesday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the recommendations and comments made by the EUEOM directly challenged the provision of the Constitution of Nepal.

The EUEOM has suggested the government to exclude Khas/Arya from the ‘quota system’ in its report submitted to the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday.

It said the quota system should exclude groups that are already well-represented, hinting at the arrangement made for the Khas/Aarya group to ensure that their representation is also equal to their population.

“This is arguably in contravention of international standards on equality, as affirmative action measures are foreseen only as a means to promote equality,” said the report.

Chief Observer of the EUEOM Zelijana Zovko, also a member of the European Parliament, had presented final report with 29 proposals for electoral process reform to the government, Election Commission, political parties, observers and civil society organisations.

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Some of the recommendations and comments of the Report not only undermine the successful holding of smooth, peaceful and impartial elections but also go against the scope and norms of international election observation, the MoFA said in the statement.

The Ministry further said that the report has also violated the Election Code of Conduct for International Observers of the Election Commission of Nepal.

The government had held three tiers of elections for the implementation of the Constitution as well as conclusion of Nepal’s peace process as mentioned in the statement.

Meanwhile, the Government of Nepal has called upon all its concerned stakeholders to refrain from making such uncalled for comments.

Likewise, political leaders have also expressed thier disssatisfaction over the report.

Reacting strongly to the suggestion, former Prime Minister and coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal Party, Baburam Bhattarai vented his ire who said in his Twitter post that the EU Mission failed to understand even basics of Nepal’s constitution.

Similarly, ruling CPN-UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai also strongly criticized the EU’s suggestion. “The comment of the EU on Khas/Aaya is unfortunate. This could seriously undermine the growing ethnic unity and communal harmony in Nepali society. This could even raise questions on the intention of the EU itself. It is better EU retracted this conclusion,” Bhattarai said in his tweets.

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Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Chairman Kamal Thapa termed the suggestion ‘unnecessary’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘unwarranted’, and “interventionist”.

Likewise, former Foreign Secretary and Nepali ambassador to Nepal’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York Madu Raman Acharya said, “EU Election Observation Team has no business to suggest changes that require amendment of Nepal’s constitution against the principle of proportional representation! Period!”

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TIA resumes operation after Malindo aircraft skids off runway towed

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KATHMANDU — Tribhuvan International Airport has resumed operation since 9:00 am Friday morning after it was closed at around 10:45 pm on Thursday.

The airport had halted all international flights following the runway excursion by the Kuala Lumpur-bound Malindo Air flight on Thursday night, according to TIA officials.

The Boeing 737-900ER aircraft taking off for Kuala Lumpur from Kathmandu skidded off the runway at 10:07 pm yesterday.

The flight OD 181 with call sign 9M-LNJ, was cleared for takeoff from runway 20 with 139 people, including 4 crew members, on board the aircraft.

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It has been learnt that the pilot swerved the plane towards the ground from the runway after sensing some technical glitches with the tyres of the aircraft.

But the aircraft apparantly couldn’t stop because of the take-off speed and load at the final moment and overran 50m south (Koteshwor side) from the runway threshold and rested in a grassland at around 22:08 pm (local time).

The runway was closed following the incident. However, the aircraft has not suffered any damage but the front tyre has been stuck in the mud.

In March 2015, a Turkish Airlines aircraft also suffered a runway excursion during landing at TIA that had closed the country’s sole international airport for four days.

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