Threshold forcing fringe parties to go for mergers, alliances

October 16, 2017 06:00 AM Republica


Except for the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, almost all fringe parties are either merging or forming pre-poll alliances to contest the provincial and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.

KATHMANDU, Oct 16: Several regional and fringe parties have opted for mergers with the three big parties after their political survival came under threat with the introduction of electoral threshold. The threshold barrier has pushed few other parties to go into coalitions with bigger parties.

The new election law makes it mandatory for a party to secure at least three percent of votes besides winning one seat under the first-past-the-post [FPTP] category in the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections. A party failing to clear the threshold barrier will be denied representation.
 
Except for the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, almost all fringe parties are either merging or forming pre-poll alliances to contest the provincial and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.

The parties which have opted for merger include Bijaya Kumar Gachhadhar's Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NLF) and CPN (Samyukta). NLF merged with the Nepali Congress Sunday while the CPN (Samyuta) merged with the CPN (Maoist Center) last week.
 
The list of parties choosing electoral alliance over merger is long. They include Family Party, Socialist People's Party, Nepal Janajagaran Party and Madhes Samata Party. All these parties have forged electoral adjustments with the UML-led left front that has long-term plan for party unification.
 
Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai led Naya Shakti Nepal, which had earlier announced to go for merger with the UML, is now planning to join NC.
 
A few other parties like the People's Front and CPN Marxist are also in line to join one of the two major alliances in view of the elections.
 
The parties in the alliance will contest the elections using a common election symbol and distribute the seats won by the block according to their strength.

With the announcement of the left alliance between UML and Maoist Center, NC has started homework to form pre-poll alliance with the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Janata Party Nepal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Democratic.  The parties are currently negotiating the constituencies adjustment. 

FSFN and RJPN, two regional Madhes-based parties, have already announced electoral adjustments for the upcoming elections. 

Out of the 88 parties which had applied with the Election Commission expressing interest to contest the election, around 60 parties have fielded candidates under proportional representation category. The threshold is likely to drastically reduce the number of fringe parties after the elections. 

Besides UML, NC and CPN (Maoist Center), only a handful of parties are in position to cross the three percent threshold by contesting elections independently.  The parties likely to cross the threshold barrier include FSFN, RJPN, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Democratic, according to political observers. 

 

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