Triangular Race for Seats in Federal and Provincial Elections
Political contest for the federal and provincial elections in Nepal has now become a triangular contest between the Nepali Congress, CPN UML and a newly formed socialist coalition led by the CPN Maoist Centre.
My Republica Nepal reported that CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal had agreed on August 22 to contest the elections under a joint manifesto and party unity coordination committee ahead of the November 20 elections.
The Unified Socialist has already formed a unification coordination committee and the Maoist Centre has also decided to form a coordination committee for the unification with the Unified Socialist.
Kathmandu post reports that Unified Socialist was formed in August last year after splitting from the CPN-UML.
The objective of the socialist block is apparently to gain more seats in the ruling coalition that has decided to contest the elections jointly, win adequate number of seats to be the kingmaker in a post polls government formation even as the parties may also hope to emerge ahead of the two main parties the Nepali Congress and CPN UML.
Apparently the socialist block parties which also includes the Nepal Samajbadi Party, led by former Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, and former UML leader Bamdev Gautam, who leads Communist Party of Nepal National Unity Campaign hope to jointly cover their weaknesses by forming an alliance.
These parties will contest the polls under under the Maoist election symbol—hammer and sickle inside a circle.
CPN Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal hopes that with the socialist block gaining a sizeable number of votes he can pitch for the post of the Prime Minister in post polls negotiations.
Election Commission Confident of Holding Polls
In an interview with Kathmandu Post’s Binod Ghimire, Nepal Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya expressed full confidence in conducting the polls. He aimed to have a voting percentage of 98 to 99 percent and realistically hoped for a 75 percent voter turnout.
This was based on the overall polling for the local elections. “So, of the 12.7 million available voters, some 12.3 million cast their votes in local elections, which is more than 95 percent. Now, the challenge is to ensure voting access to those who are living abroad, government employees and others who cannot be in their constituencies for various reasons on the election day. Still, we are expecting over 75 percent voter turnout in the November 20 elections. However, our aim should be to increase it to 98 or 99 percent, like in Australia,” he told Ghimire.
Elections – Basic Information
On November 20, Nepal will vote to elect 275 members for the House of Representatives—165 under the first-past-the-post [FPTP] system and 110 under the proportional representation [PR] system as per the Kathmandu Post. The voting will take place from 7am to 5pm.
Simultaneously, 550 members for the seven provincial assemblies will be elected—330 under the FPTP system and 220 under the PR system. In the internal schedule of the commission, the election commission has scheduled the FPTP candidacy registration for October 9-12 after the Dashain festival. Political parties submit closed lists for the PR electoral system on September 18-19. On September 27, election officers will be appointed, and election offices will be set up on October 7.
The Election Commission is confident after holding local body elections on May 13 in a single phase of holding the next level of polls. Six metropolitan cities, 11 sub-metropolitan cities, 276 municipalities and 460 rural municipalities went to polls with10.7 million voters registered. 10,756 polling stations and 21,955 polling booths were established in 753 local units on May 13.