KATHMANDU, July 20: The government on Thursday formed a five-member Constituency Delineation Commission (CDC) in view of the remaining two sets of elections – provincial and parliamentary – that have to be conducted within the deadline set by the Constitution.
Former Supreme Court justice Kamal Narayan Das has been named head of the commission formed with the mandate of reducing the existing 240 election constituencies under the first-past-the-post electoral system to 165 and delineating 330 constituencies for the provincial elections. The government also named Madhav Adhikari, Bishwakalyan Parajuli and Ganesh Raj Karki as members of the CDC while Yogendra Sharma Paudel, a secretary in the government, will work as member-secretary.
The CDC will delineate the election constituencies after studying the demographic and geographical composition and societal structure of the country.
Adhikari teaches geography at Tribhuvan University. He was a member of the Local Level Restructuring Commission, the body formed to constitute the local units in accordance with the new federal structure.
Parajuli is sociology department head at Prithvi Narayan Campus and is considered a sociologist with extensive knowledge on Nepal’s ethnicities. Karki is a retired joint secretary.
Currently, there are 240 election constituencies under FPTP. The new constitution has a provision for reducing the FPTP electoral constituencies to 165 for the parliamentary elections. There will be two provincial assembly election constituencies in each parliamentary constituency. The EC had urged the government to complete the task of constituency delineations by July 30.
The government has mandated the CD C to carry out its work within 21 days.
But the CDC members doubt that such a difficult task can be completed within such a short span. “It will be difficult to complete such a huge task within 21 days. The deadline may be enough just for arranging the office space and collecting other materials,” said CDC member Adhikari.
It had taken some five months to complete the task of constituency delineations for the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections.
Officials say constituency delineations are a tough task. The existing electoral constituencies were created before the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections.
A commission led by Justice Tahir Ali Ansari was formed ahead of the 2013 elections also but it did not revise the constituencies even after spending months on the task.
The parties finally agreed to fall back on the existing 240 constituencies.
Experts have welcomed the government’s decision, saying it has paved the way for conducting the remaining elections on time. “Formation of the commission is itself a welcome move. Delineating constituencies is a difficult task. But it will greatly help the election commission conduct the elections if the CDC works independently and avoids any political pressure to gerrymander,” said former chief election commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety.