Programme on the Analysis of Constituent Assembly Elections and the System of Proportional Representation in Nepal (Kathmandu: July 27, 2014)

Legal constitutional experts and professors on the Analysis of Constituent Assembly Elections and the System of Proportional Representation in Nepal

A Programme on the Analysis of Constituent Assembly Elections was organized in Kathmandu by Kathmandu University School of Law in cooperation with Nepal Constitution Foundation on July 27, 2014.

Participated by more than 15 legal constitutional experts and professors, the programme was intended to review the system of proportional representation (PR) in Nepal in view of the recent electoral experience of the country. Nepal has adopted List PR system since 2008 Constituent Assembly elections.

Mr. Kåre Vollan, a Norwegian electoral expert, who made his presentation on the theme, invited thoughts of the expert participants on different issues in order to improve the electoral system for the principal house of the national parliament to be created by the new constitution.

The discussion in the programme was confined to three key issues. First, the List PR side of the elections, which has certain problems at present, could be done by requiring the parties to nominate ranked lists before the elections. This would mean that the parties would fill the seats they won from the top of the lists and the voters would know who they would know who they are voting for. The selection process after the elections would then be unnecessary. This is in line with international practice and would add transparency to the process. Second, the quotas for all groups, including the male elite, on the List PR side could be replaced by minimum quotas for those who are deemed to be excluded from representation in past elections. This would include around 43 % of the population, and would make the nomination aspect much simpler for parties. Then it would also not be mandatory for all candidates of the PR to declare group and it would thus remove an unreasonable obstacle to stand for elections. Third, the women and excluded would have to be nominated at prominent places on the ranked lists. Further, it would be possible to meet the minimum requirements for representation of women and other excluded in the whole house, by for example interchanging the ratio of women candidates between the FPTP and the PR system in order to meet the overall quota of 33 % women in the full house. The PR side can be used as a compensatory mechanism to reach that requirement, if the FPTP system does not qualify the minimum set of candidates.

Finally, the PR seats could be filled from province lists instead of very long national lists. This makes sure that all MPs would have a constituency and inclusiveness would be strengthened.

Professor Niranjan Sharma, Professor Dr Surya Dhungel, Senior Advocate Radheshyam Adhikari, Decentraqlization expert Binod Bhattarai and KUSL Faculty Sombhojen Limbu also gave their opinion on the issue.

The programme was facilitated by Dean of the School of Law, Dr Bipin Adhikari.