A mixed-member system for Nepal

According to the Hindustan Times, the major Nepali political parties and the demobilizing Maoist rebels have agreed to some major structural changes to Nepal’s political system.

The electoral system, until now plurality in single-seat districts (SSD), will be changed to half SSDs and half proportional representation for the “over 400 seats” in the upcoming constituent assembly. No other details are given, except to note there will be changes to the process of constituency boundary delimitation, including “demarcating them on the basis of geography as well as population.” (This implies a tolerance for significant malapportionment, which might perhaps be a demand of the rural-based Maoists and various ethnic minorities. I would also guess that this means the system would be MMM/parallel, not MMP/compensatory.)

The article also notes that this decision comes after:

the Madhes Janadhikar Forum, a socio-political organisation comprising Madhesis, people of Indian origin living in the Terai plains, began a series of shutdowns and blockades in the south from this month.

The Madhes Forum is seeking proportional representation and regional autonomy, possibly including federalism.

Meanwhile, the King has little to do but to watch peacocks.

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0 thoughts on “A mixed-member system for Nepal

  1. Nepal hopes to reach a decision today on the voting system for their constituent assembly. But what are they discussing? Have they decided on MMP, and they are now down to the ratio of local seats — 40% or 45% local, 55% or 60% list, or the 70/30 ratio suggested by Jimmy Carter — how did he get to be an expert on MMP? — or are they discussing whether to use the compensatory system or the parallel system? Or are they discussing the parallel system?

    I found one article that makes it clear — MMP, not parallel. But is this correct?

    Of course MMP is what they need, especially since four MPs from a disaffected region seem, if I follow, to be walking out in protest against the suggestion of a full PR-list system with no geographic seats, while smaller parties insist on a fully proportional system.


  2. There was a link over at Democratic Piece that pointed towards MMP.

    CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal hoped that they would be able to reach an understanding on the issue of republic and the election system soon. He asked the NC leadership to take seriously the parliamentary directive on republic and election system.
    Amik Serchan, president of the Janamorcha Nepal, and Narayan Prasad Acharya of the United Left Front said that MMPR (Mixed-Member Proportional Representation) was the meeting point between the stances of the NC and the Maoists. Sitaram Tamang of the CPN (Unified), however, stressed the need to go for all out republic and full PR system for CA polls.

    [Himalayan Times, December 4.]


  3. I haven’t checked my Google alerts on Nepal since Wednesday, but as of that time, leaders on both sides (Seven Party Alliance, CPN-Maoist) were issuing statements on why PR was unacceptable or the only way to go, respectively.

    The Maoists are on and off threatening violence if their dual demands (no monarchy, full Pr) are not met.

    Note the Maoists have not sat in the interim parliament since September, so it doesn’t mean much if four SMD fans walk out. And most of Nepal’s disaffected groups have lined up behind the Maoists and/or their demands. So the important bargaining is between Maoists and the SPA.

    I suspect the SPA will cave. The article Wilf cites already alludes to defectors from the SPA hard line on MMP/M.

    The biggest problem in Nepal is uncertainty about likely seat shares. Data about what voters live in what districts are hard to get. The districts are not of equal population. The Maoists and some of the mainstream parties never have contested elections. There haven’t been elections in 8 years. And the only data I could find with insight into party preferences isn’t regionally disaggregated. When I asked for the disaggregated data, nobody responded. The overall results aren’t even online anymore. Frequences were given in graphs, and the images haven’t loaded in a week.

    If the problem isn’t uncertainty, it must be something related to boundary delimitation. But I couldn’t find any information about gerrymandering controversies.

    Another possibility is fraud minimization. If the Maoists plan to stuff ballot boxes, the effects would limited, since they’re concentrated in the western highlands. With PR, on the other hand, they could really inflate their totals by feigning near-100% turnout in the districts they militarily control.


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