New Delhi, Aug 6: With 106 days left for holding the federal and provincial elections, Nepal’s ruling coalition on Friday agreed to go to the polls under an electoral alliance.
A meeting of the five ruling parties decided to finalise seat-sharing arrangements as early as possible for the federal and provincial elections slated for November 20 this year. The Nepali Congress Party, chief ruling party, has CPN (Maoist Center), CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janamorcha as partners.
The coalition came into existence in July last year succeeding the then government led by KP Sharma Oli. Oli is now the opposition party leader.
“The parties in the coalition government will now fight elections under the alliance,” Narayan Kaji Shrestha, a senior leader of the CPN (Maoist Center), told India Narrative Friday evening.
The ruling coalition’s decision comes a day after the government headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba announced to conduct elections in the third week of November in a single phase.
“Today’s meeting also formed an 11-member cross-party taskforce with a mandate to finalize electoral seats among them for the upcoming elections,” the senior leader said.
The top leaders of the ruling coalition will finalize seat-sharing arrangements among the ruling parties once the cross-party taskforce submits its report.
“Seat-sharing arrangement among the ruling parties is going to be a herculean task for the task-force,” leader Shrestha further said.
According to Nepal’s Election Commission, the country will vote to elect 275 members for the House of Representatives165 under the direct election system and 110 under the proportional representation (PR) system on November 20.
Simultaneously, 550 members for the seven provincial assemblies will be elected330 under the direct election system and 220 under the Proportional Representation category on the same day.
With Friday’s decision to forge the electoral alliance among ruling parties, chances for alliance between the two largest communist partiesthe CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN (UML), have disappeared, observers said.
Earlier in July, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairperson of the CPN (Maoist Center), a key partner in the current coalition government, floated the idea of having electoral alliance under the banner of a “Socialist Center” among the like-minded communist forces.
Dahal, who is also the two-time prime minister a former rebel leader, however last week said at a public event that his attempt to form the “Socialist Center” among the like-minded communist forces could not materialize right now due to lack of time as there are just three months and a week left for holding the elections.
Dev Prasad Gurung, a leader of the CPN (Maoist), told India Narrative that several rounds of talks were held with the view of exploring the possibility of bringing all former Maoist leaders and other like-minded individuals under one umbrella.
“Forming a left alliance by bringing Nepal’s communist forces together under one umbrella has now been almost impossible,” Gurung said.
Nepal conducts period elections every five years, which took place in late 2017 last time.
With the declaration of the elections, the five-party coalition government headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba has now turned into a caretaker one and can’t make any crucial decisions.
On Friday evening, Nepal’s Election Commission also asked all the political parties in the country to-register their parties in the Election Commission as elections have been announced for late November.
The polling body has estimated that approximately 18600000 voters will participate in elections across the country.
In May this year, Nepal conducted elections to pick a fresh set of people’s representatives for 753 local levels in a single phase.
This is going to be the second time the Himalayan country holds federal and provincial elections after it adopted its first democratic republic constitution in September 2015.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)