Three per cent votes, federal FPTP seat must for national parties
Securing less than three per cent PR votes will amount to nothing
Kathmandu, December 6
A political party aspiring to become a national outfit must secure three per cent proportional representation votes and one first-past-the-post parliamentary seat.
Section 52 of the House of Representatives Members Election Act states that a political party will have to win at least one first-past-the-post parliamentary seat and three per cent proportional representation votes to be recognised as a national political party.
It is not clear what will be the status of the party that has won a PR seat but is not a national party and whether anti-defection laws will apply to the lawmakers of such a party if they defect to other parties.
According to Section 31 of Political Parties Act, MPs, members of provincial assemblies and elected representatives of local levels cannot defect from their parties before their tenure ends and if they do so their seats will fall vacant immediately.
Section 60 (11) of House of Representatives Members Election Act stipulates that only PR candidates of the parties that have secured at least three per cent of the valid votes cast can be elected under the PR election.
Section 60 (12) stipulates that votes of parties that have secured less than three per cent votes will not be counted in political parties’ PR votes.
Parties that fail to secure three per cent votes under the PR system will lose their deposit.
Senior Advocate Ram Narayan Bidari, however, said if a party won a parliamentary PR seat but was not a national party, then the lone lawmaker of that party would be an independent lawmaker and anti-defection law would not apply to such a lawmaker, he argued.
Gita Prasad Timsina, a joint attorney at the Election Commission, said, “The EC will not count votes of parties that secure less than three per cent votes in the overall tally of the PR seat-winning parties. This means securing less than three per cent PR votes will amount to nothing.”
“A national party gets office for its parliamentary party and can have its secretary, besides other benefits. If the government provides election expenses to political parties, only national parties will benefit,” Bidari said and added that national parties were not required to be registered all the time.
As per the current laws, a party will have to win at least 1.5 per cent votes in a province to win at least one seat in the provincial assembly.
Joint Attorney Timsina said three per cent PR votes could win a party at least one seat in the lower House of the Parliament while 1.5 per cent vote threshold for PR seat in provincial assemblies might not be enough to win even one seat in all provinces.
Joint Attorney Timsina said after PR votes were counted, the EC would tell parties how many seats they had won.