Ruling alliance homing in on a seat-sharing formula, leaders claimCongress has settled for 86 seats, according to several task force leaders.
Has the seat-sharing deadlock finally been broken?
The five-party ruling alliance, which has been struggling to work out a seat-sharing deal for the upcoming November 20 parliamentary and provincial elections, is inching closer to an agreement, leaders claimed.
The task force of the five parties held a marathon meeting on Monday to reach the same goal.
According to Rastriya Janamorcha leader Himlal Puri, a task force member, the Nepali Congress has shown flexibility for a possible compromise on the number of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) seats for the lower house. Other parties are likely to follow suit, Puri said.
Several task force members revealed to the Post that Congress has agreed to settle for 86 seats. However, Congress General Secretary Gagan Thapa denied the number as ‘mere speculation’.
Other leaders of the party including Shekhar Koirala have been insisting that the party should settle for no fewer than 90 seats.
Earlier, the Congress, which is the largest party in the alliance, had been insisting that it should get no less than 100 FPTP seats. Other alliance members including the CPN (Maoist Center) wanted 60 seats, the CPN
(Unified Socialist) 40 seats and the Janata Samajwadi party was eyeing no fewer than 32 seats. The smallest member of the alliance, the Rastriya Janamorcha, wants two seats for itself.
“During today’s meeting we started analysing each alliance member’s strength in electoral constituencies,” Puri told the Post.
On Sunday, the leaders had agreed to give first priority to their most electable leaders while fielding candidates in each of the 165 constituencies—and the entire alliance would support such candidates.
“Monday’s discussions built on Sunday’s agreements,” Puri said.
The leaders have been struggling to finalise a seat-sharing deal for the past one month.
Minister for Information and Communication Gynandra Bahadur Karki who is also a task force member representing the government, said top leaders including the task force members are working on a win-win deal acceptable to all parties.
“Leaders are working hard to share the seats and we are hopeful of a quick deal,” Minister Karki told the Post.
CPN (Maoist Centre) chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal echoed Karki.
“The ruling coalition is close to a deal on seat-sharing,” Dahal said without giving details of the number of seats each member party would get.
As per the latest extended deadline of the task force, its members are required to submit their report to the top leaders of the alliance by Tuesday, September 6.
The taskforce was formed on August 5 with the mandate to submit a report by August 16. But its term was extended after leaders were unable to agree on a seat-sharing formula.
In the upcoming elections, Nepal will vote to elect 275 members for the House of Representatives—165 through direct election system and 110 under proportional representation. Likewise, 330 members will be elected for seven provincial assemblies under the FPTP system and 220 under the proportional representation system.
On the provincial assembly seats, the alliance members have already agreed to divide the seats in the same ratio as the federal parliament seats.