So close yet so far

  • As important as today’s polls are, very little has been done on post-poll federal project

Dec 7, 2017-The second phase of elections is scheduled for today, and we hope that the election environment will not be marred by violence and disruption. As the Nepalis head to polls, however, it is worth casting a look forward to the next few weeks and months. Very little attention has been focused on this issue so far. This is concerning since there is so much to be done on this front.

First, the counting process will likely take some time. The Election Commission has stated that the count for the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) seats will be completed within four days. We do not expect that there will be any significant technical problems. But the counting of the Proportional Representation (PR) votes will likely be a more complex process, though the EC has said it will be completed in eight days. 

After the PR votes are counted at the constituency level, they will have to be tabulated with those from other constituencies. For the parliamentary polls, all votes from across the country will have to be added together. For the provincial polls, all PR votes in each province will have to be summed up. After this is done, the parties will have to ensure that they select candidates in a manner that fulfils the quota requirements. This could be difficult to achieve, and the Election Commission should be ready to provide support to the political parties.

After all the results are revealed, the process of constituting the federal parliament will begin. Depending on the outcome of the elections, it may take time for a new government to be elected. What will be more complex will be electing members of the National Assembly (NA). The bill laying out the electoral system to elect NA members failed to pass due to disagreements between the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML. Parliament was then dissolved. The NC then tried to pass their version of the bill as an ordinance but it has not yet been ratified by the President. It is quite possible that disputes over this bill will hamper and delay the formation of the NA. Political parties need to look into resolving their disagreements and passing the bill as soon as possible so as to ensure that the NA is constituted within a relatively short time.

The most difficult task will be the formation of provincial legislatures and governments. The names and capitals of provinces have not yet been decided upon. Infrastructure to support the creation of provincial governments is sorely lacking. There is a high likelihood that this process will be chaotic in its earlier stages. It is very important to have a plan to assist the establishment of provinces. Here, the civil service has an essential role to play. Government bureaucrats have to be ready to help newly elected politicians understand how to take over their new responsibilities. 

Published: 07-12-2017 07:35

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