All about Nepal elections

April 10th, 2008 - 1:21 pm ICT by admin  


Kathmandu, April 10 (IANS) Nepal elections in a nutshell: Nepal is voting to pick a 601-member constituent assembly, in a mixed election system.
First past the post fight to decide 240 seats
Proportional representation to decide 335 seats
26 members to be nominated

Total voters: 17,609,408

Constituencies: 240
In mountains: 22
In hills: 102
In Terai: 116

Total polling booths: 20,889 at 9,821 locations

Registered parties: 74 with 54 in actual fray
Candidates: 9,648 from 54 parties
First past the post: 3,947
Proportional representation: 5,701

Main parties:

Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

Regional parties from Terai: Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party

Unusual parties:

Sa-Shakti Nepal: The first all-women’s party makes its debut with 60 contestants.

Nepal Rastriya Bikas Party: The first party by a naturalised Nepali. Japanese tourism entrepreneur Takashi Miyahara, 74, became a Nepali citizen three-and-a- half years ago. His party supports a ceremonial king, as in Japan.

The Communist Party of Nepal-United: The first and only party to field gays, lesbians and eunuchs. Twelve sexual minority contenders are in the fray for the first time.

Nepal Sukumbasi Party: The first party of squatters to make its poll debut

Main challenges:

Continued clashes among ruling parties despite a poll pact of amity
Armed groups from Terai have threatened to disrupt the polls
Criminal elements from India
The Maoist warning that they would wage a new war if the vote goes against them.

Main issue:

Monarchy vs republic

While the seven ruling parties are supporting the abolition of monarchy, the NC and UML have a large number of leaders who favour a constitutional king.

The main royalist party is the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal headed by Kamal Thapa, who was King Gyanendra’s home minister. However, two other opposition parties, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and its splinter, Rastriya Janashakti Party, also have a soft spot for the crown.

More than 20 fringe parties also support the king, but have no public base.
The dark horse is the MJF that has fielded several known royalists.

Poll observers:

Nearly 63,000 domestic observers from 148 organisations, 856 international observers, including former US president Jimmy Carter, from 28 international organisations.

Security:

40,000 policemen
20,721 Armed Police Force personnel
Over 55,000 temporary security personnel
Aerial patrols
Army helicopters on standby
Indo-Nepal border sealed for 72 hrs

Estimated expenditure:
Nepali Rs.2.7 billion

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