Dispute continues among political parties over election threshold

Published On: February 7, 2017 03:09 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 7: Dispute continues among political parties representing in Parliament over the election threshold system. 

Of the total 32 political parties representing in Parliament, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Centre) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party are in favour of setting at least three percent threshold while other 16 fringe political parties are against it. 

The matter continues to become a prickly issue as political parties are divided on whether a party under threshold failing to secure one seat under the first-past-the-post-system or get three percent votes under the proportional representation will not be validated as a national political party. 

The matter also continues to become a thorny issue in the context when the country is preparing to go for three levels of elections—local, provincial and parliament—within 11 months as stipulated by the constitution as it has become a main basis for formulating election-related laws. 

As a result of disputes over the issue, the Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Political Parties-2073 BS has been stuck in the State Affairs Committee. Amid the disputes over threshold, independent lawmaker Chandreshwor Jha viewed that at least 10 percent threshold should be set. 

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal- 1990 had the provision of allocating the status of a national party to any political body earning at least three percent of the total cast votes in the election. 

The CA Election Bill had also proposed for 1.5 percent election threshold which was later removed by the government. Nepal's Constitution-2015 has fixed 110 seats towards the proportional electoral system. 

Majority of lawmakers are of the view that any political party taking part in the election should secure at least three percent of the total cast votes under the proportional electoral system to get the recognition of a national party. 

The Bill talks about separate provisions regarding the registration of a political party at the Election Commission and registration for taking part in the election. 

Any political party should met criteria set by the EC regarding the submission of election expenditure, registration, statute, party flag and the principle of proportional inclusion to become a political party. 

The government has been accused of failing to accord much priority to taking the Bill to a conclusion and ensuring the three-tier election. Though political leaders share the same opinion that any individual convicted of corruption should not be given space in the parliament, government and even in a party, the matter of allocating a common election symbol is yet to be sorted out. 

Political parties have differing views on the issue that political parties should get election expenditure from the State coffer. Mainly, big parties are against this proposal as they believe that registration of political parties would significantly increase in the hope of getting financial assistance from the State during the election if it was materialized. 

Parliament spokesperson Dr Bharat Raj Gautam said the State Affairs Committee worked around the clock and endorsed the four election-related bills swiftly. The Committee would leave no stone unturned to fulfill given responsibility and role to endorse the bills necessary for holding the local poll in connection to the enforcement of the constitution. RSS 

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