After 3 call-offs in 8 years, FSU election set for next monthIf everything pans out well, the Free Student Union election that has been stalled for eight years will be held next month. The FSU election will also test parties’ popularity as their sister wings will be contesting the election.
If everything pans out well, the Free Student Union election that has been stalled for eight years will be held next month. The FSU election will also test parties’ popularity as their sister wings will be contesting the election.
The Tribhuvan University, which has around 85 percent share of the university students, is preparing to table a calendar for the election scheduled for February 25. The university has already postponed the election date three times owing to non-cooperation from the student unions. The biennial election has not taken place since 2009. “We are committed to hold the election this time. The election calendar will be published in a couple of days,” TU’s Rector Sudha Tripathi told the Post.
The country’s oldest varsity had first announced the poll date for February 2012 which was postponed after the student unions close to different political parties were divided over the election modality. Some advocated for the first-past-the-post (FPTP) module, while the others pitched for a proportional system. Treading the middle path, the TU later decided to adopt a mixed electoral system that would allow equal division of seats between those elected through the proportional system and the FPTP.
The election announced for June 2013 was also cancelled as the student unions affiliated to three major parties—NC, UML and UCPN (Maoist)—were found enrolling hundreds of fake students to secure their win.
Then in 2014, the TU announced the election for June 1 and rescheduled for May 3 before calling it off after 18 student unions, led by the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary, resorted to protest demanding cancellation of the election. The ANNISUR had accused the TU administration of announcing the election date in favour of the student bodies affiliated to the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML.
Following the string of cancellations, the Supreme Court in April 2015 had directed the TU to hold the FSU election in three months. However, the directive was never followed. There are currently 60 constituent and around 1,100 affiliated colleges under the TU. Rector Tripathi said there had been some delay in announcing the schedule as the TU administration was trying to have consent of all the unions.
The Congress-affiliated Nepal Student Union is divided over the TU’s decision to impose the age limit to 28 years for the contestants. While the establishment faction is in favour of the provision, those close to senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel are against it arguing that as there is no age limit for enrolment into the university there should not be such provision to contest in poll. “Despite dissatisfaction, the NSU will participate in the FSU election. We want the election at any cost,” NSU’s President Nain Singh Mahar said.