Social Science Baha
Official

Affirmative Action and Power Sharing Instruments – Possible Electoral Arrangements for Nepal

Kåre Vollan

A complicated system for electoral quotas was introduced during the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections in Nepal.  Both excluded groups and the elite were given quotas in the proportional part of a mixed electoral system. The system did produce a more inclusive assembly than any parliament before but a targeted system for affirmative actions designed to include otherwise excluded only may show more efficient in the future. In addition, other elements of the electoral system can be used to secure diverse representation.  Whenever designing the system of representation one should establish the purpose that the various elements should serve.  Are the measures taken to achieve real (and not just formal) equality over time, are they designed to create a state where rather fixed groups are balancing each other as a permanent arrangement, or are they given to groups with political interests so different from the majority that they should be granted representation even if they have not been systematically excluded?  The paper discusses the various options in light of the answer to such questions.