ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rightward Drift in Nepal

The November 2013 elections to a new Constituent Assembly in Nepal gave a fractured mandate but one that made the traditional upper caste and upper class groups dominant again. The principles and goals set by the fi rst iteration of the Constituent Assembly can perhaps be diluted in the changed circumstances with the marginalisation of the Maoists and other forces favouring federalisation. But it will be impossible to do away with them altogether and institutionalise the old unitary and exclusionary order. An analysis against the background of Nepal's political history.

Nearly two months after elections for a new Constituent Assembly (CA-II) were conducted in Nepal in November 2013, the freshly constituted house is still in the process of getting full shape. Due to the mix-electoral system enshrined in the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, direct elections were held only for 240 out of 601 seats in the assembly. The government is to nominate 26 personalities to ensure that national figures, civil society activists and extremely marginalised groups get adequate representation. The rest – 335 in all – have been nominated by political parties in ratio of votes received by them on the basis of a list submitted to the Election Commission.

In elections for proportional representation (PR), the entire country was considered to be a single constituency where the electorate voted for the party of their choice rather than competing candidates. Parties faced a problem in deciding their nominees because the priority submitted to the Election Commission was not binding and they had to drop more names than they could accommodate in their share of the electoral support. For example, Nepali Congress, the party that bagged the most number of seats in the first past the post (FPTP) contest (105 out of 240), got to nominate only 91 out of 335 candidates it had listed for proportional representation (PR) based on votes it received. Those left out in the race have understandably created a ruckus in party forums.

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