Print Edition - 2017-09-24 | News
Results a precursor to season of alliance?
- Province 2 local elections
- Parties mull joining hands with ‘likeminded forces’ in upcoming polls
Province 2 results show that parties will go for electoral alliances when the country goes to polls in November and December- Puranjan Acharya, political analyst
Sep 24, 2017-
If the results so far of Province 2 local elections are anything to go by, voters in these eight districts seem to have given quite a few messages to the political parties.
The impressive showing of the regional parties, particularly the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSF-N) and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N), may be a lesson for the major parties that they cannot be ignored. Even the Nepali Congress (NC), which has registered 34 wins (as of 10:30pm), is behind these two Madhes-based parties which together have won 41 seats.
The CPN-UML, which swept the first two phases of local elections, is at fifth position, with 13 wins so far. The UML has paid the price for its anti-Madhes rhetoric, a political analyst said, indicating at the party’s stiff opposition to the constitution amendment, a key demand of the Madhes-based parties.
Voting to elect 136 local units in Province 2 concluded on September 18.
The results also may prompt the major parties to change their strategies when the country goes to vote to elect federal parliament and provincial assemblies on November 26 and December 7.
The likelihood of alliances between major parties and regional as well as fringe parties is high, says Puranjan Acharya, a political commentator. The basis of his argument can also be traced to smaller parties’ objection to the threshold provision.
Though the threshold provision has been introduced with an aim to what major parties call “streamline the country’s politics”, smaller parties say this could deprive them of their representation in federal parliament. In such a scenario, smaller and regional parties also are likely to show eagerness to form electoral alliances with bigger parties. As per a provision set by the Political Parties Act-2017, parties must secure at least one seat under the first-past-the-post system and three percent vote share under proportional representation system to earn the status of national party in the federal parliament.
“Though the NC appears to be all set to become the largest party in Province 2, it has faced a setback compared to its performance in the region in the past,” said Acharya. “As far as the UML is concerned, it is the biggest loser.”
According to Acharya, the CPN (Maoist Centre) has managed to do well in Province 2, compared to its poor showings in first and second phase of local polls, but it would certainly feel the need of forging electoral alliances with other parties during the upcoming polls if it wants to keep the momentum going.
The Maoist Centre with 19 wins in Province 2 is likely to emerge as the third largest party, behind the SSF-N. “There is no doubt that parties will go for electoral alliances when the country goes to polls in November and December,” said Acharya.
The Nepal Loktantrik Forum, yet another Madhes-based party, however, has fared poorly in Province 2 with 3 wins, and chances of it picking up from now are highly unlikely. It had won three seats each in Provinces 1 and 5 and one seat in Province 7 in the second phase of local elections. Hence, Province 2 elections have also made it clear that the NC, UML, Maoist Centre, SSF-N and the RJP-N will be the major players in the two major polls. For bigger parties like the NC, UML and the Maoist Centre, chances of securing majority are also unlikely unless they forge alliances with other parties, say analysts.
The UML has already said that the party made a mistake by not going for an alliance for the third phase of local polls. Leaders are of the view that the UML should “seriously” consider forging alliances with “likeminded parties’. Leaders including Bam Dev Gautam and Madhav Kumar Nepal have hinted at the UML should forge alliance with “left parties” including the Maoist Centre.
Despite being set to emerge as the largest party, the NC has said it failed to secure votes in Province 2 as it had expected. “The election result is a setback for us. We are open to electoral alliances for the upcoming elections,” said NC leader Ramesh Lekhak.
The Maoist Centre, which had an electoral alliance with the NC, also has said it is open to joining hands with other parties. The NC and the Maoist Centre jointly contested elections in around 70 local units during the first and second phases of local elections. Renu Dahal’s victory in Bharatpur Metropolitan City, even though in a re-election, was ensured largely due to an alliance between the two parties.
Party Win Lead
NC 34 6
UML 13 5
Maoist Centre 19 6
SSF-N 22 3
RJP-N 19 3
NLF 3 0
Others 3 0
Published: 24-09-2017 07:11