Panel discussion on Nepal’s Proposed Electoral System

Panel Discussion on ‘Nepal’s Proposed Electoral System

Organised by Social Science Baha
12 July 2015 (Sunday), Kathmandu

kare-vollan

There have been mixed reactions to the draft of Nepal’s new constitution. While there is a level of satisfaction that at least a draft has finally been prepared, there is also criticism that various provisions of the 2007 Interim Constitution have been watered down to render a document that some have even termed ‘regressive’. While it can be expected that the Constituent Assembly debates and perhaps even the public consultations will result in some amendments, there is also a need for a clearer understanding of many aspects of this version that appears in some cases to be a step back compared to the Interim Constitution. The proposed electoral system is one such area that requires better clarity. Some of the proposed provisions are very detailed and yet somewhat vague, and hence can make implementation of the laws governing the electoral process very difficult.

This discussion attempted to examine what the electoral arrangements as they presently stand could mean to creating an ‘inclusive democracy’ as envisaged in the draft constitution. It began with a presentation by Kåre Vollan, a Norwegian electoral expert with experience in over 30 countries who has been advising Nepal’s Election Commission since 2006. Vollan is the author of Elections in Nepal: Identifying the Politically Excluded Groups (Social Science Baha, 2015), which analyses the parliamentary/constituent assembly elections since 1991 to look at which of Nepal’s 125 social groups require assistance through affirmative action for their proportionate representation and which do not. Vollan’s presentation used findings from that study as they relate to the electoral provisions currently outlined in the draft constitution.

Commented on the presentation by:

  1. Khim Lal Devkota, Advocate, Former Constituent Assembly Member, Nepal

Additional critiques provided by:

  1. Krishna Khanal, former Professor of Political Science at Tribhuvan University.
  2. Mukta Singh Lama-Tamang of the Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University. Dr Lama-Tamang was most recently the Research Director of the Social Inclusion Atlas and Ethnographic Profile research project completed in 2014.

The comments was followed by a moderated floor discussion.

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Nepal’s Proposed Electoral System