Parties gear up for National Assembly electionSome leaders withdraw their names from the closed list of PR candidates as they plan to contest upper house seats.
Political parties are gearing up for the National Assembly elections scheduled for January 25.
The terms of 20 lawmakers in the 59-strong upper house expire on March 3. While 19 positions will be filled through elections, one member will be nominated by the President on the Cabinet’s recommendation.
The ruling Nepali Congress is ahead in the preparations. It has recommended that the Election Commission withdraw five names of its leaders from the closed list under the proportional representation category submitted ahead of the November polls last year. The names of Gopal Man Shrestha, Anand Prasad Dhungana, Shukra Raj Sharma and Abdul Satar, among others, have been withdrawn from the closed list after they showed their interest in contesting the Assembly elections.
The candidates listed for the proportional representation category for the House of Representatives elections cannot contest the upper house polls.
“It is possible that a few other names too will be taken off the closed list,” Krishna Prasad Poudel, chief secretary of the Congress, told the Post. “All of them are aspirants for the upper house. The party will decide the candidates.”
The names on the closed list must be removed before nominations are filed. “Various parties have sought to withdraw the names of their candidates from closed lists. The commission will decide on the matter soon,” Surya Aryal, assistant spokesperson for the commission, told the Post.
Another ruling party, the CPN (Unified Socialist), has called a Secretariat meeting for December 14 and 15 to select its candidates. The commission has called the political parties willing to participate in the election to register between December 10 and December 15.
The election symbols will be provided to the parties on January 1. The election officers will be appointed on January 16 and the office of the election officer will be established in each of the seven provincial election offices the same day, according to the commission.
The terms of the incumbent National Assembly members were determined through lots—for two years, four years and six years. The tenure of the first lot of 19 lawmakers ended on March 4, 2020 while the second lot retired on March 4 last year. The previous elections were held on January 26, 2022. The upcoming elections are for the vacancies created by the retirement of members having served six years.
The National Assembly has 59 members. Of them, 56 are elected, and three are nominated by the President on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers. Each of the seven provinces elects eight members including women and representatives from marginalised communities and those with disabilities.
As many as 549 provincial assembly members and 1,504 chiefs and their deputies of the local units are eligible for voting. However, one position each of a provincial assembly member, chairperson and vice-chairperson of rural municipalities are lying vacant.
The parties in the ruling alliance are likely to contest the Assembly elections jointly. This would mean the main opposition would suffer a huge loss in the vote. Seven of the 19 lawmakers whose terms end in March are from the CPN-UML. As per a preliminary assessment, the Congress would win nine seats and the CPN (Maoist Centre) six while the Unified Socialist and the Janata Samajbadi partyies will land one seat each.