Seminar Report

Nepal Elections 2013: Return of NC and UML, and the Fall of Maoists and Madhes Parties

09 Dec, 2013    ·   4210

Sisir Devkota reports on the proceedings of the discussion

Sisir Devkota
Sisir Devkota
Research Intern

Sisir Devkota
Research Intern, IPCS

The second round of Constituent Assembly elections took place on 19 November 2013 with 122 political parties contesting in 240 election constituencies. The election was carried out for 601 seats in the parliament where 240 were contested under the First Past the Post System (FPTP) and 335 were contested under the Proportional Representation (PR) system. The rest of the 26 seats will be nominated by the future council of ministers. The Nepali Congress won 105 of the total FPTP parliamentary seats in the election. The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) won 91 seats whereas the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) won 26 seats. Similarly, in the PR vote count, Nepali Congress gained the most number of votes with CPN-UML and CPN-M receiving the second and third highest votes. The voter turnout of this years’ election was more than 70 per cent. The election witnessed many women voters and candidates as well. Even though the election took place successfully, frequent bomb blasts with sporadic clashes between activists of major political parties continued till the election day. The second round of election was also marked by heavy defeats of prime political leaders of major parties. Jhalanath Khanal, Hisila Yami and Prachanda lost the elections in their constituencies with a huge margin of votes. The number of registered voters was around 12.5 million which was also five million less than in the previous CA polls held in 2008. Compared with the previous CA results, there were no new political entities in the list of parties gathering the highest seats and votes as Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-M, all emerged as major election winners. The observing missions along with India, China, US, and the EU all hailed the elections as being very successful.

Pramod Jaiswal
SAARC Doctoral Fellow, SIS, JNU

The defeat of the UCPN-M in this year’s election is because of their improper political action and pompous social lifestyle. The other main reason for their disastrous defeat in the second CA elections is because of the party’s split into two with more than one-third of the influential leaders leaving the UCPN-M to not contest the elections. Negative promotion of the Maoist leaders by the election boycotting alliance of Mohan Baidya and their lack of proper election campaigning strategies also led to the disastrous election defeat. Apart from that, their negative media image and the burden of failed political output led to the major loss. Even after the elections have been held successfully, the defiance of the Maoist party will continue to create problems in the constitution-forming process. The accusation of UCPN-Maoists the election being rigged is their strategy to buy time and shape their future political discourse. Their loss in the election is also partly because of their inability to perform when they were in power. The reason for the failure of the Madhes party in winning substantial seats was also because of their ideological split into many entities.

Sohan Prasad Sha
Research Fellow, JNU

The second round of CA election result should be analysed sceptically by putting an emphasis not only on the poll winners but also on the losers. As it is evident from the previous political experiences of Nepal, the losers of the election have always played an obstructing role to garner political consensus. Therefore, more than emphasising the political strategies of the winners, it is important to engage with the losing political entity to ease out the political process. The comprehensive loss of major political parties and individuals in the election is a warning sign and challenge to move forward with the constitution-making process. Though there were a huge number of women participating in the election as candidates, were very few of them won the parliamentary seats. The nature of the election result also shows the discrepancy prevalent in people’s mind regarding gender and leadership. The people of Nepal did not differentiate the election specifically for constitution-making but as an opportunity to choose political leaders who have developmental goals for the country as a whole. The amount of information that has been available through mass media in the form of village radios, television channels, newspapers, and the frequency and scope of airing daily news, has enormously helped to institute peoples’ participation in the constitution-making process. The localising of the discourse was mostly carried out by the media of Nepal and their role is commendable.