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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 12:42 GMT
Dearth of Nepal poll candidates
Sushil Sharma
BBC News, Kathmandu

Pro-democracy protesters burn a tyre in Kathmandu
Pro-democracy protesters are calling for a boycott of the polls
The Nepalese authorities say fewer than 4,000 people have filed nominations for next month's municipal elections.

The deadline for nominations passed on Thursday and the number of candidates who registered is lower than the total number seats at stake.

Nepal's main opposition parties and the Maoist rebels have urged a boycott.

They say the elections are an attempt by King Gyanendra to legitimise his direct rule. In February 2005 the king imposed a state of emergency.

He dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his government and assumed direct power, citing the need to defeat Maoist rebels.

Nepal experienced a nationwide general strike on Thursday called by the seven-party opposition alliance which is demanding a return to full democracy.


The total number of nominations announced by the Election Commission was higher than initial reports suggested.

King Gyanendra
The king seized power on 1 February, 2005

But they fall short of the total number of seats at stake.

According to the Election Commission 3,700 people have filed nominations to stand.

Elections are due to be held for 4,100 seats in municipalities across the country.

Some seats will have just one candidate standing unopposed and others will be completely uncontested.

A spokesman for the election commission said the final list of candidates would be published on Sunday after scrutinising all the papers.


Tej Muni Bajracharya told the BBC the number of nominations was satisfactory given security problems.

Major parties have warned candidates they would face social exclusion.

Maoist rebels have also threatened to disrupt the polls. They recently shot dead a potential candidate and abducted another in the south of the country.

The election commission said the polls would be held on 8 February as planned.

Critics say most of the candidates are little-known people with no political background.

They have called the polls a farce which they say will legitimise the royal takeover.

Opposition parties have been engaged in protests against King Gyanendra over his seizure of direct powers which they say was unconstitutional.

The king said the move was needed to tackle the 10-year Maoist insurgency which has left more than 12,000 people dead.

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