Dahal hints at agreement on single transferable vote

Published On: December 23, 2017 01:47 AM NPT By: Ramesh Kumar Paudel

CHITWAN, Dec 22: Hinting that the parties may eventually reach a consensus on the single transferable vote system, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the international practice is to make the upper house proportionate and inclusive. 

Talking to media persons at Bharatpur Airport on Friday, Chairman Dahal said they are currently holding discussions as to how they can ensure inclusiveness in the National Assembly. “We will publicize our final decision after holding a meeting of the leftist alliance on Saturday,” he said, adding that the single transferable vote is widely considered  the most inclusive electoral system. 

The ruling and opposition parties are currently at odds whether they should adopt a majority-based or single transferable vote system for  constituting the National Assembly. Although the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has sent an ordinance with a provision for the single transferable vote, President Bidya Devi Bhandari has delayed its authentication,  apparently under pressure from the CPN-UML. 

The UML has maintained that the formation of the National Assembly should be on the basis of majority vote. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had called a meeting of all the major parties represented in  parliament to discuss the issue Friday. But the meeting failed to reach  any conclusion as the UML remained adamant in its stance. 

“The Constitution does not specifically say anything about the electoral system for the National Assembly. In our previous constitution, there was a provision for electing members of the upper house through single transferable vote. But no such provision exists in the present constitution. The leftist alliance will find a positive outlet for  the political stalemate,” Dahal said. 

Dahal also said the meeting among the parties held at the official residence of the prime minister  dwelt on forming a new government based on the fresh mandate of the people once the  dispute over   the National Assembly is resolved. He said  the meeting failed to reach a conclusion and similar meetings are necessary in the days to come to resolve the political deadlock. 

Agreement to head govt by turns
Chairman Dahal said that his party has reached  a gentlemen's understanding for himself and UML Chairman KP Oli  to head the government by turns. “There have been a number of understandings. There has not been any difficulty. The party unification coordination committee meeting will finalize matters. We have also agreed in principle to head the government by turns,” he said. 

Dahal said the unification coordination committee  is scheduled to meet  Saturday. “The process of forming a new government shall start automatically once the Election Commission submits the results of the parliamentary  elections to the president,” he said.

Dahal said although  a provision is in place for ensuring the presence of at least 33 percent women in  parliament there is no difficulty in forming the new government even before the National Assembly is constituted. “The left alliance clearly sees that there will  be at least 22 women  in the upper house. This is about 37 percent of the total membership. There is no difficulty in forming the new government if all the parties ensure representation of 33 percent women in the lower house,” he said. 

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