Ordinance stuck at prez office as parties spar over electoral system

  • national assembly election
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 16, 2017-An ordinance on the election of members of the National Assembly has been pending at the Office of the President due to a dispute between parties over the electoral system.

The governing Nepali Congress is for adopting the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, while the left  of the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) which has emerged victorious in the recent polls are making a pitch for following majoritarian system. 

After the erstwhile Parliament could not endorse the bill related to election of the National Assembly, or the Upper House, and was dissolved on October 14, the government issued an ordinance to enact laws for electing the National Assembly in October-end. 

The ordinance is under consideration of the Office of the President, which has been calling for political consensus on the election of the National Assembly, which will have 56 members elected from seven provinces (eight each from seven provinces) and three members nominated for the President. 

The National Assembly and the House of Representatives will together complete the Federal Parliament at the centre. The NC says that only the STV system can ensure representation of the disadvantaged groups in the Upper House, while the left alliance argues that since the constitution itself has fixed the representation for the National Assembly based on principle of inclusion, a majoritarian system is appropriate.

Article 86 (2) of the constitution says eight representatives each will be elected from seven provinces, three women, one each Dalit and people with disabilities or from the minority community. The Electoral College, comprising provincial assembly members and chiefs and deputy chiefs of local units, will elect the 56 members for the National Assembly. The weightage of votes of provincial assembly members and chiefs and deputy chiefs of local units, however, is different. The weightage of each member of the provincial assemblies will be 48 while those from the local level units will be 18. 

The Electoral College will have 2056 members (550 provincial assembly members and 1,506 chiefs and deputy chiefs of 753 local units). 

Out of the 59 members of the National Assembly, 56 including 21 women, seven each from Dalit community and people with disabilities or the minority community will be elected from the seven provinces. The President on the recommendation of the Cabinet will nominate three members including one woman. According to political analyst Hari Roka, under the majoritarian system, whichever candidate gets the highest number of votes gets elected, just like in the first-past-the-post system. 

However, under the STV system, a quota is first determined and whichever candidate gets the number of votes to meet the quota gets elected and the remaining vote is transferred to the next preferable candidate. “This might slightly benefit the Nepali Congress which has less number of seats in local units and provincial assemblies,” Roka told the Post. The left alliance has won is over 60 percent seats in the provincial assemblies. In local polls, the UML had won 295 seats, while the NC won in 265 units. the CPN (Maoist Centre) was third, winning 107 local units.

Published: 16-12-2017 07:46

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