Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nepal 2013 CA Proportional Representation List Nominations,

Key Political Party Leaders, Contesting Political Parties

& Total Number of PR Seats by Parties

Keith D. Leslie

Indus Institute

December 19th, 2013


Status of the PR Seat Nominations

The deadline to submit PR nominations for Nepal’s new Constituent Assembly was originally December 10th, but only five parties submitted their names before that date. These included RPP-Nepal, Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal, Nepal Pariwar Dal, Samajwadi Janata Dal and Khmbuwan Rastriya Morcha.

Finally by December 10th, 11 of the 30 parties that won PR seats submitted their candidates’ names to the EC.  Of the 122 parties that contested the election under the PR system, only 30 secured seats in the CA on the basis of the total votes they received in the election.  

However, none of the major parties finalized their PR names by the first Election Commission (EC) deadline. The NC, with the maximum seats, requested the EC for an extension. Consequently, the EC revised the deadline to December 18th.  Based on that revised schedule, the final name lists of PR candidates would have been approved by the EC on December 21st.  Then the EC would have submitted the list of winning candidates to the President’s Office by December 23rd.

The Maoist party also stated that it would not submit their PR list names until an independent commission is formed to investigate into election irregularities that the party claimed occurred across the country. UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal officially requested the EC to extend the PR deadline a second time during the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) meeting.  He noted that the UCPN-M could not finalize their list of the candidates within the December 18th deadline.

The HLPC political parties then formally requested the EC to extend the deadline again for seven more days.  The EC has now given the next PR candidate deadline as December 25th, 2013.

Missing Deadlines: With the PR lists still incomplete and the membership of the new CA unresolved, the public may begin to doubt political leaders' ability or commitment to ensure a new constitution on time. The major parties´ inability to meet their agreed timeline was one of the major reasons why the first CA failed to produce a constitution -- even after extending the CA tenure for four years.   Now, one month after the November 19th CA election, the major political parties have shown the same tendency.

Commentators have expressed their concern about the political parties´ second request to the EC to extend the PR deadline. Clearly, the EC cannot work effectively as an independent constitutional body unless it is able to exert pressure on the parties to act on time.

IC Article 69: If the political parties do not submit the names of their PR candidates to the EC, this could invite potential legal complications.  The Interim Constitution Article 69 states that the first CA meeting must be summoned by the prime minister within 21 days after the EC publishes the final results.  But the EC is uncertain whether they can constitutionally finalize the results without the names of all of the PR candidates.  Lawyers have raised the question if the election results can be considered ‘final’ if the UCPN-M and other parties did not submit their final PR lists to the EC within the extended deadline.

Some parties have also objected to amending IC Article 69 to pave way for the first CA meeting. Article 69 says that the prime minister will call the first meeting of the CA within 21 days of the final election results. However, as the GoN is chaired by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, who is not the prime minister, the President’s office is preparing to amend the Interim Constitution so that the head of state can call the first meeting of the new CA. An all-party consensus may be needed for such an amendment.

Further CA Delay: Newly-elected FPTP CA members are beginning to be concerned about the delay in setting the date for the official opening of the CA. CA members have approached the Parliamentary Secretariat to request a date for convening the CA. The uncertainty one month after the election has raised questions about the maturity and decision-making power of the major political parties. The longer it takes the HLPC to forge a political consensus or decide upon the basis of a new government, the longer it will take to call the second CA into session. 

According to the IC Article 69, the new CA has to be called into existence no more than 21 days after the EC officially forwards the names of the winning candidates, therefore, given the recent delays, the earliest the CA will be called to order will be in mid-January 2014.

Parliamentary Secretariat: The Parliamentary-Secretariat said that preparations are in place to conduct the first CA meeting emphasizing the need of convening the CA meeting as soon as possible after the completion of CA election. The Secretariat has also reviewed its past performance, CA and Legislature-Parliament regulations and shortcomings to try to better perform in the next CA.


EC Requirements for PR Nominations

While finalizing their PR lists, the EC has reminded the parties that the Interim Constitution election-related Article 63 requires them to select at least 50% women, 13% Dalits, 37% indigenous nationalities and oppressed groups as well as 30.2% seats to Brahmin, Chhetris and Thakuris. Likewise, 5% seats are allocated for backward districts, e.g. Achham, Kalikot, Jajarkot, Jumla, Dolpa, Bajhang, Mugu and Humla.

If the parties violate these PR provisions, the EC has said it will ask them to correct the mistakes within three days. The inclusive provisions, however, only formally applies to parties that fielded candidates for 100% of the seats under the PR system.

Recently, given the delays, the EC repeated its concern about the potential under-representation of women in the CA as a result of their smaller share in the FPTP polls.  The EC requested major parties to select at least 50% women for their PR seats. The IC provisions 33% nomination (not necessarily selection) of women in the CA.  Therefore the EC has stated that if the parties do not meet the IC inclusive standards, the EC retains the right to make changes to the party lists to make the CA inclusive. 

If the EC acts on the percentage of women, will it also take action on the Article 63 (4) required “proportional inclusion” of Dalits, indigenous groups and other historically marginalized communities.


Political Party PR Nominations

NC:  NC leaders likely to be selected under the PR include: party Treasurer Chitra Lekha Yadav and Central Working Committee members Gopal Man Shrestha, Kul Bahadur Gurung, Dil Bahadur Garti, Minendra Rijal, Sujata Koirala, Prakash Saran Mahat, Pradeep Giri, Manmohan Bhattarai, Narendra Bikram Nembang, Ananda Dhungana, Gynendra Bahadur Karki, Mahendra Yadav, Min Bahadur Bishowkarma, Badri Pandey, Dhan Raj Gurung, Sujata Pariyar and Man Bahadur Bishowkarma.

However, NC second-tier leaders demanded the Central Working Committee (CWC) discuss the party's PR candidates.  They expressed concern that Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Poudel nominated many of the PR candidates from their own constituencies. Koirala forwarded more than six from his Banke-3 and Chitwan-4 constituencies, as did Poudel and.  Other influential leaders like Prakash Man Singh, Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Ram Saran Mahat have presented their own lists.

These NC leaders, including Mahesh Acharya, Narahari Acharya, Gagan Thapa, Mahendra Yadav, Shankar Bhandari, Arjun Joshi, Dhanraj Gurung, Jeevan Pariyar, Badri Pandey and Chandra Bhandari told their leadership to run the NC by due process. They insisted upon clear PR criteria for candidate and requested the party give priority to new people, not those who served as CA members under the PR category previously -- unless their contribution is essential for the new CA, as well.  They noted that if evidence was found that a party member helped defeat a party candidate that person must not be given a PR seat. Stating the party was marred by factional feuding, they demanded that the leadership end the practice of sharing seats among the top leaders and establish a system of taking institutional decisions.

The younger leaders suggested nominating 60% women and 23% Dalits and ensure representation for the 23 districts where the party did not win any seat under the FPTP electoral system, as well as nominate candidates from conflict victims and martyr's families, plus those below 35 years of age.

These second-tier leaders told the senior leaders not to invite them to meetings merely to fulfill a formality. They insisted that NC leaders must obtain the Central Working Committee's mandate on national issues and advised them not to delay opening the CA in the name of building consensus as that would convey a negative message to the people. They also criticized the party leadership for their flexibility on the formation of a parliamentary panel to investigate “vote rigging” saying that such a panel would raise questions about the legitimacy of the polls.

UML:  UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal proposed nomination of half of the total PR candidates from the UML Central Committee, central departments and local committees, considering their contribution to the party, expertise in constitution writing, as well as women and candidates from excluded communities and less privileged cadres. Khanal specifically proposed selecting 50% of the candidates from the Party´s central bodies and the remaining half from its lower committees. But the Party removed the 50% provision and entrusted the Standing Committee with exercising flexibility over the percentage ratio between the central and lower bodies.  The party says it will select members ensuring all 75 districts are represented.

RPP-N: The Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal has finalized its list for PR candidates in the new CA.  The party has recommended 24 names to the EC as per the decision of party Central Committee, according to the party's general secretary Chandra Bahadur Gurung. The 24 candidates are Bikram Bahadur Thapa, Bhaskar Bhadra, Ram Kumar Subba, Sushil Kumar Shrestha, Shayandra Bantawa, Ms. Kunti Kumari Shahi, Dinesh Shrestha, Dilnath Giri, Leeladevi Shrestha, Resham Bahadur Lama, Ganga Prasad Yadav, Kamaladevi Sharma, Biraj Bista, Ms. Babina Moktan Lawati, Ms. Rejeshwori Devi, Dhano Mahara, Shyam Sundar Tiwadewal, Sita Luitel (Gyawali), Shreekanti Pasi, Kanta Bhattarai, Raj Kumar Agrawal, Ram Dulari Chaudhary and Bhakta Bahadur Bishwakarma (Khapangi).

FDA: Sixteen political parties of the Federal Democratic Alliance (FDA) led by the UCPN-M threatened not to submit the names of candidates for PR seats if the GoN failed to form a committee to probe irregularities in the November 19th election. The parties said the votes were rigged and criticized the major parties for not taking their demands seriously.

The FDA has now agreed, however, to submit their PR lists by December 25th. But Madhesi members noted that if the major parties went against the understanding of investigating the election irregularities, they would cancel their plans to submit their PR lists by that date

The FDA includes the UCPN (Maoist), Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP), Madhesi People´s Rights Forum Nepal (MPRF-N), Federal Socialist Party Nepal (FSP-N), SP, Tarai-Madhes Sadbhavana Party, MPRF-Republican, Tharuhat Tarai Party, Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch, Rastriya Janamukti Party and Federal Sadbhavana Party.

FSP: The Federal Socialist Party (FSP), after threatening to boycott the CA, has decided to join. The FSP failed to win direct (FPTP) seats in the CA election, but secured 5 seats under the PR category.  FSP cadre are pressing their party leadership to personally stay out of the CA since sending the present leaders would leave no space for local and regional cadre who made important contributions. Second tier party members have told the FSPN senior leadership to sincerely accept the harsh poll results and seriously retrospect on the party’s disastrous election performance

RJM: The Rastriya Janamorcha will send Chairman Chitra Bahadur KC (71), Vice Chairperson Ms. Durga Paudel (42) and Ms. Meena Pun (40) to the CA for its 3 PR seats. The party garnered 92,387 votes under the PR, but no seat under the FPTP.  They submitted a list of 100 PR candidates at the EC. In the first CA, the party had 4 seats, 1 from the FPTP and 3 from the PR.

Two PR Seat Parties

Tharuhat Terai Party-Nepal selected its party leaders Gopal Dahit and Ms. Ganga Tharu (Satgauwa).

Rastriya Janamukti Party submitted the names of its 2 candidates, but its application was not accepted since there were some “discrepancies” in the party’s application.

One PR Seat Parties

Ø  Nepa Rastriya Party:                                                                       Laxman Rajbansi

Ø  Janajagaran Party:                                                                           Lokmani Dhakal

Ø  Akhanda Nepal Party:                                                                    Kumar Khadka

Ø  Madhes Samata Party:                                                                  Betan Mukhiya  

Ø  Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch (Tharuhat):                 Ms. Rukmini Chaudhari

CA Election-Related Issues

HLPC:  The HLPC member parties agreed to extend the HLPC term until the new government is formed.  The HLPC leadership will shift to NC President Sushil Koirala from Dahal who has headed the HLPC until now based on the recent election results.

The NC Parliamentary Party decided that all political issues should be solved by the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) until the first CA meeting is called. The NC concluded that the cross-party mechanism of major political forces, including UCPN-M, NC, CPN-UML and Madhesi parties should take charge over contentious issues until CA starts its operations.

UML leaders, however, have said the HLPC ’s relevance and legitimacy has ended with the election of the new CA and that there is no need to continue the HLPC that has already been criticized for being “extra-constitutional” and imposing a “four-party syndicate.” The UML insisted that if the HLPC continues as a parallel body it would inevitably intervene into the affairs of the CA.

PR Flaw: A serious flaw in the current PR electoral law is that parties are not required to list their ranked PR lists before the election.  If such ranked lists had been provided before the election, the selection of winning candidates would have been taken directly from the pre-selected lists. But because the PR lists aren’t ranked, there is now such intense competition which delays to the formation of a government. By not pre-listing, senior party leaders also exert excessive control over PR selections. The selected candidates know to whom they owe their seat and will have to demonstrate loyalty to their party boss which will undermine their independence in the CA.

NFIN: The Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) has demanded 37% of the CA seats based on the population of the indigenous people.  NEFIN said there the women's 50% CA quota should include 50% of IP women. It called for implementing past GoN agreements relating to IP representation in state mechanisms and warned of a stir if these demands were not addressed. They stated that indigenous people did not want ethnic states -- but identity-related rights.

BDS: The Blue Diamond Society (BDS) urged the GoN to nominate third gender people in the CA. The society, an organization working to protect and promote the rights of the third gender, called for at least three seats to the homosexual and third genders while nominating 26 CA members from the Cabinet.  They said that they would launch a peaceful series of agitations if their demands are not met.

Bhimsen Idol:  Nepali national news prominently carried the story regarding the famous Bhimsen temple deity in Dolakha that ‘sweated’ for two hours last week signaling a potentially bad omen for the country. After the Bhimsen idol began to sweat, locals performed a puja at the temple to ward off a disaster.  The idol then turned black and started sweating from three places.  People wiped the idol's sweat with cotton and sent it to the CDO to take the cotton to the head of state.  Previously the king offered puja to the idol after it sweated. This time, the local administration informed the President's Office. Meanwhile security agency chiefs have gathered at the Bhimsen temple as it was noted that Bhimsen’s idol sweated before the 1990 earthquake and the Narayanhitti palace massacre in 2001.

Political Party News

NC: The NC has said it will form the government and is committed to draft a new Constitution within a year of forming the government to institutionalize the achievements of the peoples' movement of 2006, including federalism and republican system. NC will form a consensus government among all political parties. However, if no consensus is reached among the parties, the NC will form a "strong majority government" and conduct the local body elections within six months. They rejected the UML demand to conduct an election to choose a new president and vice-president.

UCPN-M: Ex-PM, Babu Ram Bhattarai stated on Facebook that before the CA closed in May 2012 he was in favor of extending it by imposing a state of emergency, but could not due to non-cooperation from his own colleagues -- hinting at Chairman Dahal’s opposition to extend the CA by six months. The Bhattarai faction is pressing Dahal to take moral responsibility for the party’s defeat.  

Leaders of the Dahal faction insist that it was the Bhattarai government that damaged the party’s reputation by not delivering a new constitution and he should take the responsibility. They believe it was a collective party failure so all the party leaders should take responsibility for the defeat.

The UCPN-M concluded that failure to manage the party organization, misleading reports submitted by local committees, the eroding proletariat character of the party and acceptance of the formation of the Chief Justice-led government were the main reasons for the party’s defeat in the election.

CPN-M: CPN-Maoist Vice-Chair C.P. Gajurel said there is no possibility of unification with the UCPN-M or meaning in forging alliance from the party they walked away from last year.  He added that the UCPN-M was an opportunist party. He stated that the UCPN-M lost as voters were not favorable toward them because the party had been arrogant and acted against the people, plus the party split caused their electoral defeat. The party expressed its suspicion over the UCPN-M allegations about the vote-rigging suggesting that the UPCN-M was trying to gain bargaining power with other parties.

The CPN-M decided to launch a public campaign to strengthen and extend its organization from mid-December 2013 to mid-February 2014.  Their struggle for the CA dissolution would lead to a national political conference culminating in forming a joint national government to draft the new constitution.  The party will research alternative models of revolution as the existing models were outdated.  People’s revolt was a greater priority than people’s war, they said, but it was not possible with the existing party structure that could not even maintain secrecy and discipline.

RPP-N:  Seventeen Central Committee members filed a complaint at EC against the party Chairperson Kamal Thapa. The CA election ordinance states that the PR list has to be finalized by majority of the party's Central Committee; however, Thapa submitted the list to the EC without endorsing it by the Central Committee. He included businessmen Shyam Sundar Agrawal and Rajkumar Agrawal who are not party members while proposing Biraj Bista who is the son of senior party leader Keshar Bahadur Bista. Central Assistant General-Secretaries Ramesh Shrestha and Babukaji Shrestha claimed Thapa selected the wife, son and daughter-in-law of senior party leaders along with businessmen unaffiliated to the party, as well as junior party members.   

Madhesi Parties: Madhesi parties have reiterated that they adhere firmly to the right to self-determination which is in line with robust federalism. However, they reject rival parties' claims that the right to self-determination means the right to separation. Madhesis, they say, want to shape their future on their own terms and conditions while remaining Nepali citizens. Madhesis wants autonomy in their proposed provinces which will ensure that others cannot impose their cultural norms on them. Political analysts believe Madhesi parties have pushed for self-determination to ensure their rights over local resources in the proposed provinces.

Madhes Samata Party:  The party’s nominated PR candidate, Betan Mukhiya, is being reviewed by the EC as only 4 of the 7 Central Committee party members recommended his name.

Sadbhavana: The Rajendra Mahato-led SP claimed that the mandatory requirement of citizenship for voters to cast their ballots led to the humiliating defeat of the Madhes-based parties in the recently concluded CA elections. The party said that the vast multitude of Madhesi people could not cast their votes as they did not have citizenship card.  Madhes political observers, however, say these parties lost because they failed to effectively raise the issues of Madhes and due to the parties’ frequent splits.

RJM & SJN:  The Rastriya Janamorcha chaired by Chitra Bahadur KC and the Kaji Lal Waiba-led Samyukta Janamorcha Nepal unified. The party’s name will remain the Rastriya Janamorcha and KC will lead the fused party.  An agreement to continue to struggle on the issues of nationality led to the parties’ unification.  KC said the unification will assist his party to keep the nation undivided. 

MJF-D & JTMM:  The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic and the Janatantrik Tarai Madhesh Mukti Party unified. The two sides unified following talks on ideology, political and organizational issues. JTMM joined peaceful politics following peace talks with the Government from 2068 B.S. Leaders and cadres will now carry out their political activities as per the policy, ideology and principles of the MJF-D.

UCPN-M & SJTMM: Chairman of Samyukta Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha Pawan Giri formally merged his party into the UCPN-M.  Giri led SJTMM as an underground outfit in Terai.  Unification occurred after a year and a half of talks and also would be at the district and local levels. 

Key Political Party Players

§  Aasha Chaturvedi, Madhesi People´s Right Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Secretary

§  Ajambar Kangmang Rai, FSP Assistant General Secretary

§  Ashok Rai, FSP Chairman

§  Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar,  MPRF-D Chairman

§  Brikhesh Chandra Lal, TMDP Vice-Chairman

§  C.P. Gajurel, CPN-M Vice-Chairman

§  Chandra Bahadur Gurung, RPP-N General-Secretary

§  Chitra Bahadur KC, Rastriya Janamorcha Chairman

§  Gopal Dahit, Tharuhat Terai Party-Nepal Chairman

§  Jitendra Dev, MPRF-D General Secretary

§  Jitendra Sonal, TMDP Joint General-Secretary

§  Kaji Lal Waiba, Samyukta Janamorcha Nepal Chairman

§  Kamal Thapa, RPP-N Chairman

§  Krishna Prasad Sitaula, NC General Secretary

§  Laxman Lal Karna, Sadbhavana Party Co-Chairman

§  Mahanth Thakur, TMDP Chairman

§  Mahendra Yadav, Tarai Madhes Samajbadi Party Chairman

§  Manish Suman, Sadbhavana Party (SP) General-Secretary

§  Mohammad Lal Babu Raut, Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Nepal (MPRF-N) Vice-Chairman

§  Manish Suman, Sadbhavana Party (SP) General-Secretary

§  Pawan Giri, Samyukta Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha Chairman

§  Prahlad Sah, RPP-N Central Assistant General-Secretary

§  Prakash Man Singh, NC General-Secretary

§  Pushpa Kamal Dahal ('Prachanda'), UCPN-M Chairman

§  Rajendra Mahato, Sadbhawana Party (SP) Chairman

§  Rajendra Shrestha, FSP General Secretary

§  Ram Baran Yadav, President of the Republic of Nepal

§  Ram Chandra Poudel, NC Vice-President

§  Ratneshwar Lal Kayastha, Madhesi People´s Right Forum-Nepal (MPRF-N) Spokesperson

§  Ravindra Thakur, MPRF-D Secretary

§  Rukmini Chaudhary, Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch (Tharuhat), President

§  Santosh Kumar Mehta, Rajendra Mahato-led SP National Spokesperson

§  Sarbendra Nath Sukla, TMDP, Spokesperson

§  Sushil Koirala, NC President

§  Upendra Yadav, MPRF-N Chairman

Total PR Votes by Party (# of PR Seats Earned)

1.       NC                                                                                   2,418,370                  (91)

2.       UML                                                                                2,239,609                 (84)

3.       UCPNM                                                                          1,439,726                  (54)

4.       RPPN                                                                                  630,697                  (23)

5.       MJF-D                                                                                 274,987                  (10)

6.       RP                                                                                        260,234                  (10)

7.       MJF-N                                                                                 214,319                   (8)

8.       TMLP                                                                                   181,140                  (7)

9.       Sadhbhawana                                                                    133,273                  (5)

10.   CPN (ML)                                                                             130,300                  (5)

11.   Sanghiya Samajwadi                                                          121,274                  (5)

12.   Rastriya Jana Morcha                                                         92,387                    (3)

13.   CPN-United                                                                           91,997                   (3)

14.   Rastriya Madhesi Samajwadi                                             79,508                   (3)

15.   Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party                                                66,649                    (3)

16.   Rastriya Janamukti Party                                                    63,834                    (2)

17.   Terai Madhesh Sadwabhana Party Nepal                        62,746                   (2)

18.   Tharuhat Terai Party Nepal                                                62,526                    (2)

19.   Nepal Pariwar Dal                                                                 51,823                   (2)

20.   Dalit Janajati Party                                                                48,802                   (2)

21.   Akhanda Nepal Party                                                            36,882                   (1)

22.   MJF-Ganatantrik                                                                    33,982                   (1)

23.   Nepali Janata Dal                                                                   33,203                   (1)

24.   Khambuwan Rastriya Morcha:                                            30,686                   (1)

25.   Nepa: Rastriya Party                                                              28,011                   (1)

26.   Janajagaran Party Nepal                                                       27,397                   (1)

27.   Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party                                               25,215                    (1)

28.   Madhesh Samata Party Nepal                                            23,001                    (1)

29.   Samajwadi Janata Party                                                       21,515                    (1)

30.   Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch (Tharuhat)             21,128                    (1)


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