KATMANDU, May 25: The Election Commission (EC) is likely to reject to register the newly-formed Nepal Communist Party, if the party does not increase women's participation in its central party structure.
Although the election body is yet to take the final decision on the registration of the party, Election Commissioner Ishwari Prasad Paudyal said the proposed party organization does not meet the inclusive standards as envisioned in the Party Registration Act. The commissioner said the party needs to increase women's participation in its central structure for registration.
“The new law related to party registration has a provision to ensure 33% women participation in the party's rank and file but women participation seems very low in the newly formed party,” said commissioner Paudyal adding, “Legal experts at the commission are looking into various aspects of the proposed party."
As per the Party Registration Act, any party needs to ensure 33 percent women representation from central to local level. NCP, which was formed after a merger between the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), however, has inducted only 73 women leaders in its 441-member central committee.
A list of CC members made public by the party reveals that women make up merely 16 percent of the party's most powerful committee, while a staggering 84 percent (368 members) are men.
The representation of men is almost five times higher than that of women despite the fact that the latter constitute over 50 percent of the national population. The 2011 census shows that women comprise 51.5% of the population of Nepal and the gap is expected to increase further this year.
The shrinking space for women politicians in higher ranks of political parties has been seen as a bad sign for the country which not long ago saw women in the posts of president, speaker and chief justice all at the same time.
The poor representation of women has not gone down well with the female leaders who said that the domination of men in the central committee had exposed the patriarchal mindset of the party leadership. Senior female leaders are unhappy over the lack of women's representation in the party's central committee.
The low representation of women has also raised questions over the party's commitment to ensuring 33 % representation of women in parliament. Before the merger, the erstwhile UML had made it mandatory to ensure one-fourth representation of women in party committees.