Nepal Elections: Exactly what is happening in our Himalayan neighbourhood?

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalNov 22, 2022 | 14:48

Nepal Elections: Exactly what is happening in our Himalayan neighbourhood?

People of Nepal voted for a new government on November 20, the results of which will be out after nearly two weeks. Photo: Getty Images

Counting has begun for Nepal general elections which took place on Sunday. There were two ballots in the polls: one to elect 165 members from the single-member constituencies via FPTP (first past the post system) and the other to elect remaining 110 members from single-member constituencies via party-list proportional representation.

Voters also voted for seven provincial assemblies. There are a total of 550 members in the provincial assemblies where 330 candidates will be elected directly and 220 will be elected through the proportional method.

The latest updates:

  • As per the initial results, PM Sher Bahadur Debua's Nepali Congress, which alligned with Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda's Communist Party of Nepal has won the Kathmandu seat with senior NC leader Prakash Man Singh bagging 7,140 votes against his nearest rival Ravindra Mishra who got 7,011 votes.
  • The Nepali Congress so far has won three seats in the House of Representatives while the CPN-UML has won one seat.
  • It will take nearly two weeks for the election commission of Nepal to declare the results.
  • As per the initial results, the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), floated by former television personality Rabi Lamichhane is surprisingly doing well and is leading in at least seven constituencies.
  • Election observers have said that the RSP's impressive performance is a wake-up call for all the national parties like Nepal Congress and CPN-UML. They said that the RSP will not only get recognition as a national party but will also be one of the key players in the country's political spectrum in the next five years.
  • Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) has the lead in five constituencies and CPN-Maoist Centre is leading in 4 constituencies respectively.
  • As per the Election Commission, around 61% of the polling was recorded in Nepal elections this time.
  • Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has also bagged 463 votes out of the 1000 votes counted so far in the Dadeldhura district from where he is contesting the elections to the House of Representatives. Deuba, who is now 76, has been elected from this constituency on six occasions and has never lost an election.
    Political Leader Rabi Lamichane prays after casting his vote at a polling station in Kathmandu.. Photo: getty Images

The elections: Around 18 million of the voters were eligible to vote in the Nepal elections. This was the second election after country's constitution was promulgated in 2015.

  • 165 members of the 275-member Federal Parliament will be elected through the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system while the remaining 110 seats will be filled by a system of proportional representation (PR).
  • A total of 330 seats in the seven provincial houses will be decided directly. The remaining 220 seats will be filled by proportional representation.

Parties, leaders, coalitions:The election is between two coalitions.

  • There is the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's Nepali Congress (NC). It Includes Pushpa Kamal Prachanda' Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-MC) and Madhav Kumar Nepal's Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Socialist.
  • The opposition coalition is led by Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) of former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who hopes to return to power after the elections.
  • Sharma's UML has also aligned with Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) in a half-dozen seats. The Hindu nationalist RPP is contesting over 150 seats under the FPTP system.
  • The smaller parties from the Terai region have allied with two major coalitions.
  • Also, in a show of resentment against the national parties, corruption and absence of accountability, around 1,200 independent candidates are also in the race for federal parliament.
    Leader of Nepali Congress and incumbent Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Singh. Photo: Getty Images

    How Deuba became Prime Minister of Nepal? Incumbent PM Sher Bahadur Deuba became PM in July 2021 after the government under former PM KP Sharma Oli suffered numerous setbacks, splits and revolts. 

  • Sharma's government came to power in 2017 but towards the beginning of 2021, there were several cracks seen in his party. Though Oli tried to cling to power by dissolving the house twice backed by President Bidya Devi Bhandari, the Supreme Court held both disolutions as unconstitutional and instead directed the President to administer the oath of office to Deuba.
  • Oli has previously also decried the judiciary as partisan and indicated that he would assert the Prime Minister's power to seek a fresh mandate at will, if elected.
  • Also, there are visibly no challenged to Oli's leadership from within.
  • However, Deuba faces several challenges to his leadership of NC, especially from General secretary Gagan Thapa, who had previously staked claim to the prime ministership in case the coalition returns to the power.

Nepal's tumultuous political past: The Himalayan country that borders India and China has seen 32 governments since 1990 and 10 governments in the last 14 years since the monarchy was abolished in 2008.

The country's leaders then made a collective promise to have stable governments, but failed to do so.

Last updated: November 22, 2022 | 14:48
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