EC ready to hold NA poll under STV polling system

Kathmandu, December 19

At a time when major political parties — the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML — are at loggerheads over the voting system for the National Assembly election, the Election Commission is preparing to hold NA polls under single transferable vote polling system.

EC Commissioner Ila Sharma told THT, “We have made preparation from our side to hold NA election under STV polling system. She added that STV system would ensure proportional representation in the Upper House. She, however, clarified that the EC was ready to hold NA election under any system the political parties decided on.

Under STV, a voter has single vote that is initially allocated to their most preferred candidate. As the count proceeds candidates are either elected or eliminated and voters’ votes are transferred to other candidates as per their stated preferences, in proportion to any surplus or discarded votes.

The government has forwarded ordinance of NA election to the president with a provision to hold NA election under STV polling system.

The NC and the UML have been pressuring the president for and against endorsing the ordinance. Left alliance of the UML and CPN-Maoist Centre wants to hold NA election under majority electoral system, in which the winner must have absolute majority.

EC Information Officer Surya Prasad Aryal said nothing was mentioned in the constitution about the NA election system. “Of the eight members from each province, three should be women, one Dalit and one differently-abled person or a person from minorities group,” said Aryal. He said election of village councils, municipal councils and district councils were held under majority system.

According to Aryal, chances of winning all NA seats by a particular party would be high if the election was held under majority system. “But under STV polling system, parties will get NA seats as per their strength,” added Aryal.

Chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of rural municipalities, mayors and deputy mayors of municipalities, sub-metropolitan cities and metropolitan cities and elected representatives of province assemblies form the electoral college for NA elections.