EC working on PR quota allocation in lower house

Poll authority busy verifying data after receiving related documents from most of the electoral constituencies

Dec 19, 2017-Amid differences of opinion whether Proportional Representation seats of the House of Representatives can be allotted to the political parties before the National Assembly is elected, the Election Commission is preparing to determine by Wednesday the number of PR positions each party will get.

“We are verifying data after receiving related documents from most of the electoral constituencies,” said Geeta Prasad Timsina, assistant election officer for the PR poll. “We plan to complete seat allocation for each party and submit a report to the commission for further process.”

According to the PR election directives, the poll authority seeks the names of candidates to be elected from each party that has met the 3 percent vote threshold. The parties have to submit their lists by ensuring at least 33 percent representation of women in the federal parliament. The lists also have to be inclusive in terms of proportional representation of ethnic communities.

The governing Nepali Congress and the left alliance, which has emerged victories from the federal and provincial elections, differ over what comes first—new government formation or electing the upper house.

Unclear constitutional provisions have been seen as hurdles to electing PR candidates for the House of Representatives. Election commissioners said they are waiting for the parties to find consensus on the matter.

“However, we cannot wait too long. We will take decisions based on the constitutional and legal provisions,” said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal. Another election commissioner said constitutionality is the main concern although electing PR members is practically possible.

Election commissioners themselves have no uniform opinion on PR candidate election at the Centre before the upper house is formed. Since the National Assembly will have at least 22 female members, ensuring women’s representation in the lower house will fulfil the constitutional requirement on inclusiveness.

In the 275-strong lower house, 110 members come from the proportional representation vote while 220 of the 550 members in the seven provincial assemblies are elected proportionally.

“There is no problem in electing PR members of provincial assemblies,” said an election commissioner. The first step is allocation of seats to the parties on the basis of their vote share.

But the delay in appointing provincial chiefs is the problem since provincial representatives have to take the oath of office from the chief, who also summons the state legislature.

The poll authority says timely appointment of the chiefs helps provincial assemblies to function right after their PR members are elected.

While the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government plans to appoint provincial chiefs and name the provincial headquarters, leaders of the left alliance say the incoming Cabinet should get to decide on the crucial matters.

Published: 19-12-2017 07:48

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