Nepal: Proportional representation votes stop Left from 2/3 majority
This has ended fears of the Constitution being rewritten and the introduction of social and economic reforms that would suit the alliance forged by the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre.world Updated: Dec 14, 2017 20:01 IST
Votes under Nepal’s proportional representation system stopped the left alliance from securing a two-thirds majority in the federal Parliament despite an impressive showing in elections under the first-past-the-post system.
This has ended fears of the Constitution being rewritten and the introduction of social and economic reforms that would suit the alliance forged by the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre.
The voting under the proportional representation system also stopped any political party from gaining an absolute majority, but the two communist parties will have a majority in the lower house.
A total of 165 members of the 275-strong federal Parliament are being elected under the first-past-the-post system, while the remaining 110 seats will be filled under the proportional representation system.
According to the final first-past-the-post results announced on Wednesday, the CPN-UML has won 80 federal constituencies and the CPN-Maoist Centre 36 federal constituencies. The total strength of the left alliance under this system is 106 seats - meaning it has a clear majority in the lower house.
But the alliance has not done as well under the proportional representation system, and was unable to gain 66% of the total seats in lower house, according to results made public on Thursday. The counting of votes is expected to end on Friday.
The ruling Nepali Congress fared poorly under the first-past-the-post system but is in a neck-and-neck contest with the CPN-UML under the proportional representation system.
According to the Election Commission, the CPN-UML secured 2.83 million votes under the proportional representation system while the Nepali Congress bagged 2.73 million votes. If this trend continues, the CPN-UML is likely to secure 43 seats and the Nepali Congress 40 seats.
The second largest party in the first-past-the-post system, the CPN-Maoist Centre, obtained just 1.13 million votes under the proportional representation system, meaning the Nepali Congress may push the Maoists into the second position under this system.
Under the first-past-the-post system, voters directly vote for party candidates while votes under the proportional representation system go to individual parties, which select candidates from various segments, including women, Dalits, backward castes and indigenous communities.
A total of 165 members of the House of Representatives and 330 of state assemblies have been elected in two phases of voting under the first-past-the-post system, according to the Election Commission.
Nepal has been following this mixed model of voting since the first polls to the Constituent Assembly in 2008. According to this model, a party can be declared a national party only if it wins one seat under the first-past-the-post voting and secure 3% of votes cast nationwide.
Under this provision, apart from the CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Centre and Nepali Congress, two Madhes-based parties - Rastriya Janata Party Nepal and Sanghiya Samajbai Forum – will cross the threshold. This means only five parties will be recognised as national parties.
“None of the parties have gained a majority,” Nepali Congress leader Mahendra Yadav said on Thursday. “The votes under the proportional representation system clearly show that the Nepali Congress will be second largest party in the lower house though we have lost several constituencies under first-past-the-post.”
Parties are still at odds over the composition of the upper house. Without formation of the upper house, a government cannot be formed and lawmakers under the proportional representation system cannot be picked.
A bill to hold elections to the upper house has reached the President’s Office for consultations but the parties have yet to forge consensus on this issue and the Sher Bahadur Dueba government could be in office for some more weeks.
First Published: Dec 14, 2017 19:49 IST