Monday Mar 27, 2023
Monday Mar 27, 2023

Does election in Nepal lack political inclusion?

Despite elections, political Leadership in Nepal remains reserved for the already affluent.

2022 Oct 14, 6:33, Kathmandu

The upcoming federal and provincial elections in Nepal offer a great chance to the Nepali citizens to elect competent representatives for the formation of governments. However, the right to politically represent themselves is still restricted for certain people.

Acknowledging that Nepal is a country filled with diversity in terms of population, the constitution of Nepal accommodates for the fair treatment and representation of people form different geographical areas, indigenous backgrounds, ethnicities and religion. However, that is only an ideal which the constitution upholds.

About the present situation of Nepali elections and politics, Dr Sachin Ghimire, international member of the American Anthropological Association and the Founder Editor of New Angle: Nepal Journal of Social Science and Public Policy says, “ Women, marginalised communities and minorities should be represented politically in order to establish a strong democracy in Nepal, but the quotas ensuring the rights of such people are misused and when the time for elections arises, ad hoc representation is practised.”

“The seats for candidacy in elections are already reserved for the already powerful and influential politicians while the marginalisation of other people continues,” says Dr Ghimire. “ This is the reason the voices of the historically marginalised people from different castes, ethnicities and regions of Nepal never get a chance to get, and they always lack behind in political and social participation,” he adds.

With the establishment of a federal democratic republic in 2015, the legislation has determined quotas to ensure participation of women and ethnic minorities in the elections. The quota system made it possible for 112 women to be elected to the house of representatives in 2017 elections.

Although the constitutional provision guarantees 33 per cent representation of women in the Nepalese parliament, the empowerment of women is not executed from the grass root level.

 “There are no efforts made for genuine empowerment of women, however during election time, tokenism is practised to seek legal validity under the constitution,” adds Ghimire.

The lack of transparency in political financing limits women and marginalised communities to participate in elections. Although the election commission of Nepal has published campaign spending limits in the Nepal Gazette for the upcoming elections, it has often been seen through recent elections that the code of conduct is not followed.

While the code of conduct restricts candidates from giving incentives and cash to buy votes from the voters, there is lack of monitoring. The International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) confirms the lack of regulating mechanisms noted by domestic observers of elections in Nepal. This shows transparency in campaign income and spending is not ensured. The lack of political financing policies that empower women candidates is demotivating women from competing in elections in Nepal according to IFES.

International assessment confirms that more campaign spending means more chances of winning the election in Nepal which limits political representation of people who are already marginalised. Candidates who have previously participated in Nepal’s federal elections have expressed their concerns about elections being conducted unjustly in Nepal, as the inability to raise money for campaigns silences many emerging voices of political leadership in Nepal.


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