Parties working behind the scene to end impasse

  • upper house election row
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 24, 2017-

Despite political posturing on disputes related to the National Assembly election, three major parties are engaged in back-door negotiations with multiple options on the table.

While President Bidya Devi Bhandari is also in consultation with cross-party leaders about a possible way out, leaders from the CPN-UML, Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) are working behind the scene with an aim to end the logjam.

The left alliance had been pressing the government to withdraw the ordinance on National Assembly election forwarded to the President even as the NC argues that the head of state has no alternative but to endorse it. Major leaders from the top parties are exploring alternatives for a swift transfer of power after the UML and the Maoists swept the polls.

Sources said UML leaders Ishwor Pokhrel and Pradeep Gyawali, Maoist Centre senior leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha and NC senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel are exploring the alternatives.

The first option, according to leaders, is publishing the final results of the House of Representatives without naming members to be elected under proportional representation. Parties, mainly the Left allies, are pressing the Election Commission to go for this alternative, to no avail. The UML has pursued this option in particular.

“We hope the EC will make the election results public within a couple of days, which will pave the way for formation of a new government,” said UML leader Gyawali. If there is an agreement on this alternative, the new government will resolve disputes related to the ordinance.

Alternatively, the EC could also choose lawmakers from the lists on the basis of the names provided by the parties during nomination. This, according to leaders, will lead to announcement of the final election results.

The second option is ensuring the NC’s presence in the upper house. Under this, the government would withdraw the ordinance to change the proposed single transferable vote (STV) into the majority electoral system. There would be an agreement in which the NC gets certain seats in the Assembly.

The Maoist Centre is making efforts to convince the UML on this option. If the majority system is adopted, leader say, there may not be representation of the NC in the upper house. Even if the STV system is adopted, a majority system should be used to elect women and Dalits on the allocated quotas.

The third option is withdrawing the ordinance and resending it to the President without any changes. This would basically be a face-saver. As the left alliance argues that the government forwarded the ordinance without consensus among the parties, such a move could make it easier for the leftist bloc to accept the ordinance. “The same ordinance could be resent on the basis of political consensus,” said a leader involved in the negotiations.

Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said informal discussions are under way to find a solution within the constitutional framework. “We want to move ahead on the basis of consensus among the parties. There are some options we are discussing to end the impasse,” said Shrestha. “The new option should reflect both political consensus and constitutional provisions,” he added.


Three parties weigh options

First: Publishing the final results of the House of Representatives without naming lawmakers to be elected under the Proportional Representation category

Second: Ensuring the NC’s presence in the upper house. Majority system in place of single transferable vote

Third: Withdrawing the ordinance and resending it to the President without any changes. A face-saver

Published: 24-12-2017 07:43

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