Maoists get only 29.3 per cent vote
KATHMANDU, April 24 (Xinhua)?The counting of Constituent Assembly (CA) votes under the Proportional Representation (PR) system has been completed in Nepal on Wednesday, local newspaper The Kathmandu Post reported Thursday.
Updated data from the website of Election Commission (EC) of Nepal on Thursday morning showed that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) leads the tally with 3,144,204 votes out of the total 10,739,078 votes cast. This is equal to 29.3 per cent of vote share.
Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) are in second and third positions, respectively, bagging 2,269,883 (21.1 per cent) and 2,183,370 votes (20.3 per cent).
The Madhesi People'sRights Forum (MPRF) and Terai Madheshi Loktantrik Party (TMLP) are in the fourth and the fifth positions, respectively, pocketing 678,327 (6.3 per cent) and 338,930 votes (3.2 per cent).
Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) is in the sixth position with 263,431 votes (2.5 percent).
The Election Commission (EC) of Nepal Tuesday completed vote counting under the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP), in which the CPN-M have won 120 out of the total 240 seats under FPTP.
The EC has said that it would apply Modified Saint Logue system to calculate exact number of seats won by these parties based on votes they have garnered.
According to the agreement reached among Nepali political parties, 240 CA members will be elected through FPTP and 335 CA members from the PR electoral system while another 26 CA members would be nominated in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.
The Constituent Assembly to be formed after the elections started on April 10, is to decide the future political setup and the fate of the monarchy of Nepal.
Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, who has been declaring himself the future Prime Minister of Nepal on the basis of the emergence of his party as the largest single one among the 240 seats of the Constituent Assembly, for which elections were held on April 10, has found to his horror that the results of the votes cast in favour of his party under the Proportional Representation (PR) system have dashed all hopes of his leading the nation.
His party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) has ended up with just 120 seats (actually 119 as Prachanda has been elected from two constituencies) out of 240 under the First Past the Post (FPTP) system, two short of an absolute majority. But the results of the elections under the Proportional Representation (PR) system must have given him the shock of his life?he is set to be allotted only 100 or 101 seats out of 335 in proportion to the percentage of votes polled. The PR system will give huge number of seats to the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the three ?Madheshi? parties. If they come together, then Mr. Prachanda will have to be satisfied with the Leader of the Opposition post. The CPN(UML) is unlikely to ever join the Maoists in any arrangement.
But wait. The Prime Minister, whoever he might be, will nominate another 26 seats in order to bring the number of members of the Constituent Assembly to 601. These nominations will remove any imbalance among various indigenous communities in representation. The majority of the nominees, therefore, may not be followers of Prachanda. His party therefore, before the nominations, will have to be content with 219 or 220 seats out of 575. This does not make a Prime Minister.
Frustrated, he has revived the favourite punch bag of most Communist parties (there were at one time 22 Communist parties in Nepal) in Nepal?the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed on July 21, 1950 between the two countries terming it unequal. Away from the business of administering the country, he has now demanded the scrapping of this Treaty. One can be reasonably certain that his party will also demand scrapping of the Sugauli Treaty of 1815, signed between the Gorkha Durbar (the Government of Nepal) and the British (the East India Company) after the defeat of the Nepalis in their war against the British. This Treaty had determined the boundary of the country we know today as Nepal. A corollary to the scrapping will be demand from India to return the territory lying between the river Sutlej and the river Teesta (?Sutlej dekhi Teesta samma?), a demand that has already been aired by the India-educated deputy leader of the Maoists, Dr Baburam Bhattarai.
Coming back to the present situation. It must be realised that the task of the House to be constituted in another fortnight or so is only to draft a new Constitution of Nepal. This House is not the Parliament. As such, some compromise is likely to be evolved in the business of go governance while the House writes the Constitution
Meanwhile, a piquant situation will arise when Mr. Koirala resigns as the Prime Minister. The problem is he is also the Head of the State. He, therefore, will still be in the office at least to swear in the new government. King Gyanendra is no longer the Head of the State.
Another important aspect is the victory of the three Madheshi parties?the Madheshi Jana Adhikar Forum, the Terai Madheshi Janadhikar Party and the Sadbhavana Party led by Rajendra Mahato. Their tally is impressive both according to the FPTP and the PR systems. For the first time since the history of the electoral politics in Nepal began in 1959, the Madheshis have won a strong footing in the politics of Nepal. They will be important groups demanding greater attention.
Almost three weeks after the elections for the Constituent Assembly in Nepal was held on April 10, many commentators on national and international events in this country continue to assert that the Maoists have won a ?sweeping? victory in Nepal and are going to rule that country with the Maoist leader Prachanda being ?elected? as the Prime Minister.
However, someone who is following the telecasts of Nepal TV, an official organ, since April 10, this writer fails to finds any sweep for the Maoists and find substance in the claim by commentators that Prachanda is about to appoint himself the Prime Minister of Nepal any time now.
What is the ground reality? Well, there were three phases of the elections for the Constituent Assembly which will have a strength of 601 members (larger than the Lok Sabha of India which has 545 Members including two nominated from among the Anglo-Indian community). In the first phase of elections, polling took place for the first two phases of elections. The initial results which had excited many commentators in this country were for the 240 seats under the First Past The Post (FPTP) system. Of these, the Maoists have won just 120 seats, half of the total and hence one seat short of majority. This ?victory? was called ?sweeping? by some enthusiastic commentators.
In the same phase, voting took place also for the 335 seats under the Proportional Representation (PR) system, under which it will be the number of votes polled by the individual political parties that will determine the number of seats in the Assembly.
The latest result showed that the Maoists have polled less than 30 per cent of the votes. Their strength will thus remain at 221 or 222 among the 575 seats (240 plus 335). The remaining 26 seats will be filled by nomination by the Prime Minister, whoever he or she might be, but he or she will have to take into consideration the unrepresented sections of the people or those with limited representation. The nominations will not be an arbitrary matter. Supposing the Maoists get half of these 26 seats, i.e.13. Even then, their total strength in the House of 601 will be 225 at the most. How then can Mr Prachanda choose himself the Prime Minister without a majority? There are other Communist parties too who have some representations. But they are mostly one or two-men parties and can contribute another 10 seats at the maximum.
Realising this situation, Prachanda has now started talking about forming a coalition government under the leadership of the Maoists. What will happen ultimately will be known in perhaps a week'stime, but one might add that the impression that the Nepali Congress has been ?wiped out? is all wrong. They have won 46 seats under the FPTP system and won about 20 per cent of the votes under the PR system. This will give them 67 to 70 seats, taking their tally beyond 100 seats The case of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist or UML) is also similar. They will account for 60 plus seats. The Madhesi parties have won a total of 46 seats under the FPTP system and about 8 per cent of the seats under the PR system. Their tally may be 25 more seats.
Prime Minister G.P. Koirala did not contest the elections under the FPTP system. He will be nominated by his party under the PR system.
One may add here that the Nepali Congress has suffered grievously in this elections. One reason is its total alienation from the people at large, leaders remaining mostly in Kathmandu. Eight members of the extended Koirala family contested the elections. All of them except one lost. Including the Prime Minister'sdaughter, Sujata. The only Koirala to win is Shashanka, second son of the late B.P. Koirala, legendary leader of the Nepali Congress. His victory may be attributed to the respect people of Nepal still have for B.P. Koirala.
Several Kathmandu commentators have opined that India has been the greatest looser in this election. Some have blamed the present ambassador Shiv Shankar Mookherjee for cozying up a little too demonstratively with the Maoists. Time only will tell if these views are acceptable.