So much to do, only a few days in hand

  • constituency delimitation
  • CDC, which has 2 weeks, is yet to fix basis for carving out constituencies
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Balancing population and geography will be the biggest challenge before the five-member commission

Aug 4, 2017-

The Constituency Delimitation Commission (CDC), formed on July 20, has only 12 days left to submit its report, but it is yet to formulate the basis for determining the constituencies for the elections of provincial assemblies and House of Representatives, which must be held by January 21 next year.

The government on July 20 announced the formation of the CDC with a 21-day deadline, but it started its work five days later after preparing its terms of reference. Hence it now has until mid-August to submit its report.

With a huge task ahead and only a few days left, concerns are growing whether the CDC would be able to complete its work of downsizing the existing 240 constituencies to 165 for the upcoming elections. 

Madhav Adhikari, a member of the CDC, said the commission has finished compiling suggestions and that it will formulate the basis for constituency delimitation soon. 

As per the constitutional provision, the five-member CDC has to take into consideration geography and population, for which it first needs to fix the weightage (basis) before starting delimiting the constituencies. 

Article 286 (5) of the constitution says: While determining election constituencies, the CDC shall determine the constituencies, having regard to population and geography as the basis of representation, so as to ensure that the ratio between the geography, population and number of members of such electoral constituencies is equal, so far as practicable. Clause 6 of the same Article says: While delimiting constituencies, regard must be had to, inter alia, the density of population, geographical specificity, administrative and transportation convenience, community and cultural aspects of the constituencies.

Meanwhile, experts have cautioned against possible gerrymandering.

 “We will set the basis for constituency delimitation in line with legal provisions and suggestions from experts,” Adhikari told the Post, adding that the CDC would complete its task within the deadline. 

The CDC bills envision keeping the entire rural municipalities and ward of municipalities and metropolises intact while delimiting the constituencies. 

But balancing population and geography will be the biggest challenge to ensure representation proportionately as some provinces cover a large geographical area but have low population density. 

For instance Province 6 (10 districts) has just 6 percent of total population (1,623,602), while it covers around 20 percent of (27,984 sq km) total geography, but the scenario is just the opposite in Province 2  (8 districts) which covers around 6 percent (9,661 sq km) of total geographical area but has 20 percent (5,404,145) population. 

 

Published: 04-08-2017 07:30

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