September 15, 2017 05:30 AM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
KATHMANDU, Sept 15: The election of the new president and vice president is proposed within a month after the election of the new federal parliament and provincial assemblies scheduled for the end of this year.
The government registered the Bill on Election of the President and Vice President, in parliament on Thursday, proposing that the Election Commission announce the election of the new head of state and deputy head on a date that is within a month after the formation of the federal and provincial legislatures.
The bill explains that this arrangement will obtain for the one time after the formation of the federal and provincial legislatures in line with the new constitution. But in the general course of things, the election of the president or vice president will be announced a month before the expiry of tenure of the incumbent president or vice president.
The government has announced the election of the federal and provincial legislatures in tandem and in two phases, the first phase on November 26 and the second on December 7. The two elections will be for 275 members of the House of Representatives in the federal parliament and 550 members of the seven provincial assemblies. After the provincial assembly elections, the government will hold another election for the 59-member National Assembly. The election of the new president and vice president is likely only after the formation of the National Assembly. The Supreme Court has ordered the election of the House of Representatives, the National Assembly and the Provincial
Assemblies by January 21, 2018, the deadline for the new constitution.
Any candidate must secure a majority vote in the electoral college, which means the votes of a minimum of 443 out of the total 884 members of the federal parliament and provincial assemblies have taken together. If no candidate gets a majority vote there will be a run off between the top two candidates, according to the bill. If the two candidates end up getting an equal number of votes, the winner will be decided through a drawing of lots.
The new law has proposed that any aspirant for president or vice president must be at least 45 years of age and be a citizen of Nepal by descent. Likewise, the bill has proposed making it mandatory for political parties fielding candidates for both president and vice president to have the two candidates represent different genders and different ethnic communities.
The new election bill has proposed that any aspirant running for president should deposit Rs 100, 000 and for vice president Rs 75,000. But candidates representing women, Dalits and minority communities will get a 50 percent discount on the deposit amount.
Likewise, a candidate for president or vice president should muster 25 federal Parliament or provincial assembly members to propose the candidacy and 25 to second it.
The bill has proposed different weightages for the votes of federal parliament members and provincial assembly members. The votes of the 334 members of the federal parliament (275 of the House of Representatives and 59 of National Assembly) will have a weightage of 79 while the 550 members of the seven provincial assemblies will have a weightage of 48 for the purpose of electing the new president and vice president.
The weightage of 48 is arrived at by dividing the total population of the country (26.49 million as per the 2011 census) by the total number of Provincial Assembly members (550). As per this calculation, a provincial assembly member represents a population of 48,000 on average.
Using the same method, the total population was divided by 334, i.e. the total number of federal parliament members. This shows that a member of the federal parliament represents a population of 79,000 on average.
One vote from a federal parliament member will have the same weightage as 1.64 votes from a provincial assembly member. The bill has proposed multiplying the vote of a federal parliament member with its weightage number, i. e. 79, while counting the vote. In the same way, a vote of a provincial assembly member will be multiplied by its weightage number, i. e. 48.
The total votes of the 334 federal parliament members will be counted as 36,386 and that of 550 provincial assembly members as 26,400.