House endorses Bill on Political Parties with threshold provision

KATHMANDU: The Legislature-Parliament on Wednesday evening endorsed the Bill on Political Parties, which has provisioned a threshold in general elections for the representation of parties in the Parliament.

When put to vote, the House passed the Bill, incorporating 31 amendments recommended by the State Affairs Committee in it, was passed with a majority.

Now, parties have to garner three per cent vote each under the Proportional Representation category and at least one seat under the First Past the Post system to be recognised as national parties.

Lawmakers of many fringe parties boycotted the House meeting, protesting the threshold provision.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party lawmakers, however, voted against the Bill. Earlier,  NWPP lawmaker Prem Suwal had argued that the Bill was incomplete and needed some revision.

Responding to lawmakers' queries and opinions, Minister Ramesh Lekhak, on behalf of Minister of Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi, said the Bill aims at making the political parties more responsible by strengthening internal democracy in them, and manage the process to form and run political parties.

According to him, the provision of threshold was for the federal elections only and related laws that will be enacted later will make things clearer.

Though small parties have expressed their concern, according to him, the provision of threshold inspires them to become big as it allows two or more parties to contest elections with a single election symbol.


House likely to pass threshold decision today amid protests

KATHMANDU: The Parliament on Wednesday began discussions on the report of State Affairs Committee about the Bill on Political Parties despite the fringe parties' protests against the provision of threshold.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar has called the second meeting of the House in a bid to endorse the report today itself.

SAC Chairman Dil Bahadur Gharti had presented the report of the panel during the first meeting today.

Meanwhile, speaking at the meeting, lawmakers of various fringe parties had protested the decision to impose the threshold of three per cent vote under the Proportional Representation category and at least one seat under the First Past the Post system.

The decision was just passed by SAC this morning.

During the House meeting, CPN-ML General Secretary CP Mainali said the decision was undemocratic and against the sentiments of Constitution, claiming it would restrict the right of smaller parties to represent their voices in the legislative body.

He said the new criteria would give the status of the national party to only three parties.

Mainali requested the Speaker to drop the agenda of discussion on the report from today's business; and warned that the fringe parties would boycott the House if their demand was not heeded.

Speaking after him, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party lawmaker Prem Suwal said the new provision would violate the constitutional provision of freedom of association.

Likewise, Mina Pun of Rastriya Janamorcha, Eknath Dhakal of Nepal Pariwar Dal, Shiva Lal Thapa of Rastriya Janamukti Party and Yasoda Kumari Lama of Dalit Janajati Party also protested the provision.