Nepal National Assembly and State legislative
26th Nov 2022
A deeper message
- A General Election recently concluded in Nepal for both National Assembly and State legislative.
The outcome of the election
- At face value, the outcome of Nepal’s general election was, expectedly, favourable to the ruling five-party alliance of the Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Centre), CPN (Unified Socialist), Loktantrik Samajwadi Party, Nepal and Rashtriya Janamorcha, which has won or established a lead in at least 87 of the 165 seats in the FPTP system and is tipped to win close to half of the 110 proportional representation seats.
- The coming together of the alliance is what helped it overcome the opposition coalition led by the K.P. Oli-helmed Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) — it won or leads in 49 seats in the FPTP system while the UML is leading as the single largest party in terms of PR votes.
- But the mandate shows that the longstanding mainstream parties now have challengers — the largely urban-based newcomer Rashtriya Swatantra Party has a lead in or won eight seats while emerging as the third largest party in vote terms and also getting a sizeable number of PR seats in the House of Representatives.
- Led by a former television personality, Rabi Lamichhane, the RSP has vague ideological views but a clear position against federalism, seeking to dissolve the provincial assemblies that were set up under the federalist constitution.
- Its performance points to the inability of mainstream parties to ensure stability or effect policies to lift the living standards of Nepalis in a country that sees much youth outmigration.
Blow to Maoists & Madhesi
- The election results have also been a blow to the Maoists and the Madhesi parties, which played a crucial role in the federalisation of republican Nepal.
- Their legacy in constitution building did not help them overcome the fact that voters were tired of their opportunist political stances.
- While there is no threat to republicanism or secularism in Nepal, a more comprehensive federal agenda will have to ensure that provinces are sufficiently empowered or else the enthusiasm for federalism will wane further.
Performance of youth candidates
- The winning Nepali Congress will also have to look deeper into its electoral results which have been buoyed by the performance of its youth candidates.
- Led by veterans, the party must consider letting a younger leader (Gagan Thapa) take over.
- Nepal’s elections were marked by the absence, largely, of calls for voting on a religious/sectarian basis, and delivered results true to the country’s political diversity, unlike other south Asian democracies.
- A beleaguered Nepali citizenry that has waited for decades for democracy to unleash better developmental outcomes deserves change: it is now up to the parties to provide that.
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