Big III want key provisions of poll bills changed

Kathmandu, October 6

The three major parties Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre have begun work to effect changes in some of the major provisions of the three election-related bills.

Some lawmakers of the three parties have registered proposals to amend the three bills Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Functions, Duties and Powers of Election Commission; Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Voters’ List; and Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Political Parties at the Legislature Parliament Secretariat.

Some NC lawmakers are likely to register amendment proposals tomorrow, the deadline for the same.

“Since issues related to the election system are vital in the long run, we want to change some of the provisions to improve the quality of elections. However, changing the provisions is not possible until major political stakeholders agree.

Nepali Congress is preparing to hold consultations with other parties. The amendment proposals that are being registered could be used in accordance with negotiations among parties,” said NC lawmaker and Senior Advocate Radheshyam Adhikari.

The threshold system will help reduce the number of political parties, as the parties that are unable to secure the determined percentage of votes will not be allowed to be represented in the Parliament.

NC top leaders, including party President Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ramchandra Paudel and lawmaker Adhikari today discussed the provisions at the NC’s parliamentary party office in Singha Durbar and decided to make efforts to amend some of the key provisions, according to the party’s Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha.

“The top leaders are considering change in key provisions, including determining threshold percentage of votes required by a political party to make it to the Parliament, determining rank order of candidates in the closed-list under proportional representation system and whether to allow two or more parties to fight an election under the same election symbol,” said Adhikari.

Even the issue of whether the power to announce election dates should be vested in the government or the Election Commission is under consideration, he said.

The top leaders are scheduled to meet tomorrow morning. Following the meeting they will advise party’s lawmakers to register their amendment proposals accordingly, said Adhikari.

UML leader Agni Prasad Kharel has registered an amendment proposal seeking to vest the power of announcing election dates in the Election Commission instead of the government.

Another UML lawmaker Rajendra Pande registered an amendment proposal seeking to include threshold system. A party should win at least one seat under the-first-past-the-post system or get at least three per cent of the total votes cast across the country to make it to the Parliament, his proposal added.

Ram Narayan Bidari of CPN-MC registered an amendment proposal seeking to include the provision of allowing voters to register their names a month before the voting date. The bill has proposed that registration should not be allowed after announcement of the election date.

Twelve proposals have been registered seeking to amend the EC related bill, 20 to amend the bill on political parties and six to amend the bill on voters’ list so far and the number is likely to increase tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ajaya Shankar Nayak said the government was preparing to bring two other bills related to election after Dashain.