Breathing space

Breathing space.
A smartphone survey last month ranked what Kathmandu’s long-suffering residents are most worried about: air and water pollution topped the list, followed by health and education.
It will not be an easy task, and some candidates have been making wildly unrealistic promises of underground metrorails and flyovers.
This led to 15 years of plunder of rivers, mountains and forests by a mafia enjoying political protection.
Worryingly, this time candidates for many of the Village and Municipal Councils are tainted figures trying to get elected to powerful local self-government units.
“There was no accountability, and corruption became part of grassroots governance,” laments Krishna Prasad Sapkota in our Guest Editorial on page 2.
There are also quotas for women and Dalits, and although more than 90 per cent of candidates to head local councils are men, parties are obliged to nominate a woman for one of the two senior local posts.
Preparations for the much-delayed elections were hurried because of the deadlock over the Constitution.
A compromise to hold it in two phases has its own dangers.
But this election, with all its flaws, is of symbolic importance because it finally brings the new Constitution into force.

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