New parliament to have seven national parties, including two new ones

Published On: December 3, 2022 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Emergence of Rabi Lamichhane-led Rastriya Swatantra Party and CK Raut-led Janamat Party as two new national parties  

KATHMANDU, Dec 3: The new parliament elected through the November 20 elections is set to have seven national parties as there appears to be no prospect for the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led CPN (Unified Socialist) party to get the recognition of a national party.

A party needs to pass the threshold of three percent of the total valid votes cast under the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system and secure at least one seat under the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system to be recognized as a national party. Although the Unified Socialist has won 10 seats for the House of Representatives (HoR) under the FPTP electoral system, the party is struggling to get the mandatory minimum three percent of the valid votes to get recognition as a national party.

There are a total of 17.98 million registered voters in Nepal. According to the Election Commission (EC), the voter turnout in the recently-concluded elections was around 61 percent. This means that around 10.97 million votes were cast during the election. The election body has estimated that around 300,000 votes were declared invalid in the course of vote counting.

Taking into account the total votes cast and the number of votes declared invalid, a party needs at least 320,000 votes to cross the three percent threshold to get recognition as a national party. But as there are only 150,000 votes left to be counted, the Unified Socialist has received just 294,000 votes.

A senior leader of the Unified Socialist said they are less optimistic that they can secure the minimum 320,000 votes to get recognition as a national party. “We cannot still completely rule out the possibility of crossing the threshold set for the national party since the vote counting in Dolakha, Bajura and Syangja is still underway. But looking at the trend of our votes so far, there is a slim chance of securing 320,000 votes under the PR electoral system,” said a top leader of the Unified Socialist party.

Meanwhile, seven other political parties including the newly-formed Rastriya Swatantra Party and Janamat Party that contested the parliamentary and provincial assembly elections have already passed the threshold to secure the recognition of being a national party.   

According to the EC, a total of 10.38 million votes had been counted under the PR electoral system as of Friday evening. While the CPN-UML has secured 2.73 million of these votes, the NC is trailing behind the UML with 2.64 million votes. Similarly, the CPN (Maoist Center) has secured 1.16 million votes, Rastriya Swatantra Party 1.11 million and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) 585,000 votes so far.

Two Madhesh-based parties — Janata Samajbadi Party and Janamat Party — have also passed the 3 percent threshold as the vote counting continues. While the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) has secured nearly 421,000 votes, the Janamat Party led by CK Raut has secured 394,000 votes. According to EC Spokesperson Guru Prasad Wagle, these seven parties have already crossed the minimum threshold to get recognition as a national party.

The new parliament will have more nationally recognized parties than the previous parliament, which had a total of six national parties. NC, CPN-UML, Maoist Center, Janata Samajbadi Party, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party and Unified Socialist Party were recognized as national parties in the previous parliament.

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