For all promises to promote the principle of inclusion in every sector, the country failed to see enough female leaders making into the House of Representatives through the elections under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) category.
Only six female candidates have won the elections to the House of Representatives under the FPTP category, pointing to a disturbing trend of decline in women’s representation at the country’s legislative body.
In 2013 CA elections, a total of 10 female candidates or 4.17 percent of the total contestants representing the three major political parties—NC, UML and UCPN (Maoist)—had won FPTP seats. It was a big comedown from the first CA elections in 2008 when a total of 30 women were elected to the HoR—12.5 percent of total elected CA members under the FPTP seats.
As per the constitutional obligation, every political parties in Parliament must ensure 33 percent women representation in the House.
The final tally of the elections shows the winning female candidates represented only three parties—CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Centre) and Rastriya Janamorcha.
While the UML swept 80 FPTP seats across the country, there were only two female winners—Pabitra Niraula Kharel from Jhapa-2 and Padma Kumari Aryal from Syangja-2. The KP Sharma Oli-led party had fielded two other female candidates Manju Chaudhary in Udayapur-1 and Bhagawati Chaudhary in Sunsari-3.
UML’s electoral partner in the left alliance the CPN (Maoist Centre) has three female among 36 FPTP winners—the highest number of female representatives from a party in the federal parliament.
Its senior leader Pampha Bhushal won the race from Lalitpur-3 putting off the challenge of NC’s Madan Bahadur Amatya. Kamala Roka won from Rukum East, getting the better of NC leader Hari Shankar Gharti Magar by a huge margin of 6,000 votes. Likewise, Bina Magar became the only female candidate to win under the FPTP category from the whole of Province 7. The daughter-in-law of Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal defeated NC’s Diwan Singh Bista by nearly 20,000 votes in Kanchanpur-1. The Maoist party had fielded four female candidates in the elections to House of Representatives under the FPTP category.
Rastriya Janamorcha’s Durga Poudel wound up the female winners with a victory in Pyuthan over former Nepal Reconstruction Authority CEO Govinda Raj Pokharel, who was running on an NC ticket.
The Nepali Congress had fielded nine female candidates in the elections to the HoR, but all of them lost their race as they party was relegated to third place with 23 seats under the FPTP category.
Already under fire for nominating fewer women candidates under the FPTP category, the major parties will now be looking to make up the numbers by instilling more female candidates under the PR category.
Winning female candidates
Pampha Bhushal (Maoist Centre) Lalitpur-3
Kamala Roka (Maoist Centre) Rukum East
Bina Magar (Maoist Centre) Kanchanpur-1
Pabitra Niraula Kharel (UML) Jhapa-2
Padma Kumari Aryal (UML) Syangja-2
Durga Poudel (Rastriya Janmorcha) Pyuthan