Ruling parties still haggling for seats as nomination deadline draws closerPolitical leaders claim that they have reached a deal on most of the 165 House of Representatives seats.
Political parties are still struggling to select their candidates under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) category for the upcoming federal and provincial elections even as the deadline for nominations is less than two weeks away.
Task force members and top leaders of the governing alliance have been meeting regularly but they have yet to conclude the sharing of the 165 House of Representatives seats among the five constituent parties—Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Centre), CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party, and Rastriya Janmorcha.
The Election Commission has set October 9 as the day for the parties to nominate their FPTP candidates for the November 20 elections.
The meeting held Tuesday among the top leaders of the alliance partners along with the task force members, however, could not resolve the seat-sharing dispute.
“During today’s meeting we discussed the 330 provincial assembly seats and worked out a possible deal,” Manish Kumar Suman, the spokesperson of the Janata Samajbadi Party who had participated in the meeting, told the Post. However, he refused to reveal his party's position regarding the provincial assembly seats.
The parties are under pressure to finalise their seat-sharing arrangement by October 2, the deadline given to parties to revise their PR lists, although the final day for registering FPTP candidacies is October 9, a Nepali Congress leader privy to the seat-sharing negotiations told the Post requesting anonymity.
“Key leaders who fail to get FPTP tickets need to be accommodated in the PR list, therefore parties are under pressure to complete the seat allocation by October 2,” the Congress leader told the Post.
He further claimed that the ruling alliance has agreed to give the Nepali Congress seven of Kathmandu’s ten lower house constituencies. A leader of CPN (Unified Socialist) also confirmed the claim made by the Congress leader.
“Although we had staked claim to eight of Kathmandu’s ten lower house seats, alliance leaders have reached a verbal agreement to cede constituencies 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 of Kathmandu to Congress,” the Congress leader told the Post.
Political parties on September 19 had submitted their closed lists of candidates under the PR electoral system and the list can be amended by October 2. Congress spokesperson Prakash Saran Mahat speaking at a press conference at party headquarters on Tuesday said his party will amend its PR list before the stipulated date.
After the dissident faction of the Congress objected to the party’s PR list saying nominations were made in an unilateral manner by the establishment faction led by party president and prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, the party’s officer bearers met at Baluwatar Tuesday and decided to revise the list, the Congress leader said.
“The meeting of party bearers has decided to amend the PR list because it is not in accordance with the cluster requirements and other constitutional provisions,” joint general secretary of Congress Mahendra Yadav told the Post.
A total of 110 lawmakers in federal Parliament and 220 in provincial assemblies will be elected through the PR system.
The Election Commission has said it will verify the closed-list of PR candidates submitted by parties from September 20-25. If there are any errors on the lists, the commission would notify the parties to make corrections. The parties will have to submit their corrected lists between September 26 and October 2.
The task force formed by the ruling alliance had submitted its partial report on seat-sharing on September 8. The task force members on Sunday and Monday were more focused on the provincial assembly seats and claim to be near agreement.
Party leaders claim they have reached agreement on most of the 165 lower house seats.