EDITORIAL: Right direction

The bill has also paved the way even for a non-parliamentarian to contest both the president and vice-president posts

The Legislature-Parliament Sunday passed a bill related to the presidential and vice-presidential elections under the new constitution adopted by the second Constituent Assembly on September 20, 2015. The bill has also paved the way even for a non-parliamentarian to contest both posts. But a person contesting elections for president and vice-president should not have been convicted by final court of law on crimes as specified by the laws. A person convicted on a crime facing a jail sentence up to 20 years, rape, corruption and moral turpitude, genocide, abduction and others, as specified by the law, cannot contest the presidential election. The bill was revised by the full House of Parliament. Earlier, the government-forwarded bill had required a presidential and vice-presidential candidate to have 25 lawmakers as supporters and 25 lawmakers as seconders. But the revised bill has reduced them to five each. The bill, passed by Parliament, has also removed the previously-purposed security deposit of Rs. 100,000 for presidential and Rs. 75,000 for vice-presidential candidates. Many lawmakers had opposed both the provisions of supporters and seconders as well as security deposits saying they were impractical.

Members of the federal parliament (275 members of the House of Representatives (HoR) and 59 members of the National Assembly (NA)) and 550 members of the provincial assemblies in all seven provinces shall comprise the 884-member electoral colleges. However, weightage of members of the federal parliament and members of the provincial assemblies shall be different. A member of federal parliament shall have 79 voting weightage while a member of the provincial assembly shall have 48 voting weightage. The voting weightage was determined dividing the total population (26,494,504 based on 2011 Census) by the total strength of the federal parliament and provincial assemblies and further divided by 1,000. It means that a member of the federal parliament represents a population of 79,000 whereas a member of the provincial assembly represents 48,000.

The bill which was passed through Parliament two weeks before the filing of nomination for the parliamentary and provincial elections, also stipulated that elections of president and vice-president shall be held one month after the first meeting of the (HoR) and Provincial Assemblies. But elections of both the constitutional posts shall not be affected or put off, even if the seat of a lawmaker or a provincial assembly member falls vacant or election to a provincial assembly does not take place. The bill has been drafted in such a way that the president and vice-president would represent the total population through their elected representatives in the federal parliament and provincial assemblies. The tenure of the incumbent president and vice-president shall remain till their successors are elected. But elections of president and vice-president cannot be held at once as the constitution requires the posts to be from different gender. It means that if the president is a male the vice-president must be a female. All legal instruments required for holding elections of the local level, provincial assemblies, HoR and NA have been completed with the passage of this bill. The term of the president and vice-president shall be five years. The constitution will fully come into force after the head of state is elected.

Migratory birds

Ornithologists say as many as 70 species of winter migratory birds have arrived in Kathmandu. The total number of such birds species are approximately 150. They have arrived the wetlands of Nepal which include the Bagmati Corridor of Chovar and Taudaha of the Kathmandu Valley and also the plains in the south to stay during the winter season. The experts believe that the birds migrate to Nepal in search of food and also to avoid competition for breeding and their survival. These birds are in search of food that is easily available and also  good weather.

It is also reported that all the summer migratory birds have left for home. Migrating birds also include the high flying birds that cross the lofty Himalayas. A flock of such birds were observed flying at an altitude of 9,375 meters above Mount Everest. The peak season for birds to migrate is mid-September to mid-October. Most of the birds migrate from China, Mongolia, Korea, the Siberian region of Russia and central Asia.