Five parties likely to qualify for PR seats

December 14, 2017 06:50 AM Roshan Sedhai


Besides UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepali Congress (NC), the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) are the other two parties to cross the three percent threshold as of Wednesday evening.

KATHMANDU, Dec 14: Only five political parties including two Madhes-based parties have crossed three percent threshold to qualify for representation in the federal parliament as the counting of proportional representation (PR) votes entered the final stage.  

Besides UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepali Congress (NC), the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) are the other two parties to cross the three percent threshold as of Wednesday evening.
 
The new election law makes it mandatory for a political party to secure at least three percent of votes besides winning one seat under the first-past-the-post [FPTP] to become a national party. A party failing to clear the threshold will be denied representation.
It might be too early to say whether the current trend will prevail until the final vote count as nearly a third of PR votes cast in the parliamentary and provincial elections remain to be counted. If the current trend prevails till the final count, there will be a drastic reduction in the number of national political parties. There were 31 political parties in the outgoing parliament.
 
Votes counted until Wednesday show UML taking away most of the PR votes (34.47 percent of the valid votes) followed by Nepali Congress (33.20 percent), Maoist Center (13.53 percent), FSFN (4.79 percent) and RJPN (3.75 percent).  The Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Bibeksheel Sajha Party have bagged 2.26 and 2.25 percent of valid votes, around 100,000 votes short to cross the threshold.
  
The result has been described as a huge setback for the RPP, the fourth largest party in the outgoing parliament, which had won 25 seats during the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013. The prospect doesn't look good either for Bibeeksheel Sajha, a political startup with its roots in social activism, which made a foray into competitive politics with promises of good governance and sustainable development.

However, the two parties alongside some other parties like Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, and Rastriya Janamorcha, are likely to qualify for seats in provincial assemblies due to 1.5 percent threshold mark set for the provincial election. The Bibeksheel Sajha, for example, has bagged around 42,000 votes from Kathmandu alone and is expected to get some seats. 

The likely expulsion of the fringe parties is hardly surprising as many of them had hastily opted for merger or electoral adjustments with big parties fearing the threshold. The parties which had opted for merger or electoral adjustments include CPN (Samyuta), Family Party, Socialist People's Party, Nepal Janajagaran Party and Madhes Samata Party.
 
Meanwhile, the left alliance has secured supermajority in the federal parliament under the first-past-the-post category. The UML has won 80 seats out of a total 165 seats, while Maoist Center has 36 seats, according to the final result released by the Election Commission on Wednesday. The NC and the alliance of the Madhes-based parties have secured third and fourth largest positions with 23 seats and 21 seats respectively.

Similarly, the UML has secured victory in 168 provincial assembly seats, while Maoist Center has won 73 seats, almost double the 41 seats won by NC. 

The results put the left alliance in a comfortable position to form governments at the center and six out of seven provinces, while the FSFN and RJPN are poised to lead consensus government in Province 2.  

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