KATHMANDU, March 9: The government has registered a bill in parliament for the delineation of electoral constituencies.
With less than 10 months remaining for concluding local, provincial and parliamentary elections, the government must finalize new electoral constituencies in line with the Article 286 of the new constitution.
The government is giving final touches to two election related bills--bill related to the election of federal parliament and provincial assembly--based on the drafts forwarded by the Election Commission. Out of the total nine election-related bills that are must for concluding three sets of elections by January 2018, the government has endorsed four bills from the parliament so far.
Article 84 of the constitution has proposed reducing the existing 240 electoral constituencies to 165 for the parliamentary elections. Likewise, electoral constituencies for each provincial assembly will be double the number of constituencies meant for federal parliament as provisioned in Article 176 of the new constitution.
The bill concerning the delineation of electoral constituencies has proposed delineating electoral constituencies for federal parliament and twice many constituencies for provincial assembly taking population as first priority and geography as second. Section-5 of the bill has stated that population should be taken as main basis and geography as second while delineating electoral constituencies in the country.
The first amendment to the new constitution made in January 2016 had made it mandatory to take population as the main basis while delineating new electoral constituencies.
The bill has proposed forming an electoral constituency delineation commission in line with Article 286 of the new constitution but hasn't mentioned anything about the tenure of the commission. The constitution has stated that the term of such a commission should be prescribed in the time of its formation.
According to the constitutional provision, a retired judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed chairperson of the commission and four other members will include a geographer, a sociologist, an administration expert and a special class government officer.
The government has mentioned in the bill that the decision of the commission cannot be challenged at any courts and the decision of the commission will be implemented after the Election Commission publishing a notice in the Nepal Gazette.
The bill further proposes that the commission cannot split any existing districts, village councils and municipality wards while delineating the new electoral constituencies for federal parliament. However the commission can split village council and municipality while delineating constituency for provincial assembly except wards, reads the bill.