EC weighs FPTP block voting for Nat’l Assembly

Proposal: direct election of Assembly members with a separate bloc for candidates from women, Dalit, disabled and minority communities to ensure their election

Aug 4, 2017-The Election Commission has decided to propose the first-past-the-post Bloc Voting Electoral system, similar to the one adopted for local level elections, to elect members of the National Assembly.

Under this system, there will be direct election of National Assembly members but a separate bloc will be created for candidates coming from women, Dalit, disabled and minority communities so that only candidates from these communities will be elected.

The constitution does not specify an electoral system for holding elections to the National Assembly. 

In the case of the House of Representatives and provincial assembly elections, however, the constitution prescribes a mixed electoral system of the FPTP and proportional representation.

The FPTP Bloc Voting system has been practised for the local elections. “We are proposing a similar electoral system at a meeting planned for Sunday,” said an EC source.

During the first meeting held to discuss the election modality for the Assembly on Monday, political party leaders had urged the EC to propose a system.

They had also urged the poll authority to assign a tentative weightage to the votes cast by provincial representatives and local representatives to elect the Assembly members.

According to Article 86 of the constitution, an electoral college comprised of members of the provincial assemblies, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the Village Councils, and mayors and deputy mayors of municipalities should elect 56 members for the 59-member Assembly. 

Additional three members are nominated by the President on the recommendation of the government. But Article 86 of the constitution states that a federal law should determine the weightage of votes.

But EC officials said they are yet to reach a conclusion on assigning the value to 

each grouping of the Electoral College.

“We are, though, mulling over proposing 25 percent weight for rural municipality representatives, 50 percent for municipality representatives and 100 percent for the members of the Provincial Assembly,” said the EC official. “We also expect the 

parties to come up with their proposals.”

The EC is drafting the bill on the National Assembly election. There is a dispute over the constitutional provision, with the Madhes-based parties demanding that chiefs and deputy chiefs of the local units not be involved in the Assembly vote.

In line with their demand, the government in April registered the Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament seeking to amend Article 86 (2) (a) so that the chief and deputy chief of municipalities and rural municipalities will not be part of the Electoral College.

With two phases of local elections having been over, the EC expects protests from elected representatives against any bid to remove their voting right. There will be 550 voters from provincial assemblies, against 1,488 from the local units.

In most countries adopting the federal system, provincial representatives have got a bigger say in electing the Upper House, said Bipin Adhikari, a constitutional law expert.

Published: 04-08-2017 07:51

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