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Will PM Deuba be able to hold polls as provisioned in the statute?

By Our Reporter
The latest political developments and expressions made by a section of our powerful politicians have made the people suspicious about the effective implementation of the constitution.
When only five months, as proposed by the Election Commission, are left to hold the elections of the federal and provincial parliaments, the government has not yet constituted a commission to delineate constituencies for federal and provincial elections. Although the EC has been asking the government to form such a commission, the government has not done any homework to this effect.
The dillydallying in forming the constituency delineation commission looks mysterious. Moreover, there were news reports about Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s desire to give continuity to the existing 240 constituencies to hold the elections of the federal parliament.
According to the constitution, the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Federal Parliament, will have 275 lawmakers– 165 elected through the ‘first past the post’ (FPTP) electoral system and 110 (40 per cent of those elected through the proportional system).  But PM Deuba intends to give continuity to the existing constituencies.
Holding FPTP election for 240 lawmakers of the House of Representatives will be a sheer violation of the constitution. The government cannot hold the elections in 240 constituencies without amending the constitution, and it lacks a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution.
The CPN-UML, Federal Alliance of Upendra Yadav and Dr Baburam Bhattarai of Naya Shakti have strongly opposed the idea. As such, the government cannot garner support of the two-thirds lawmakers to amend the statute.
If the number of lawmakers elected through the FPTP electoral system is increased to 240, the size of the parliament will be much bigger than that envisaged by the new constitution. When the number of directly elected lawmakers is increased to 240 from 165 the number of those elected under PR system will also be much higher than 110.
A rough estimate shows that the House of Representatives will have 400 members (240 directly elected lawmakers and 160 elected under the proportional system) in place of 275 lawmakers. The upper House will have 59 lawmakers.
Likewise, the number of lawmakers in the provincial parliaments will also increase as a constituency for the federal parliament will be divided into two to elect the lawmakers of the provincial parliament. Hence, the number of lawmakers elected through FPTO system in all 7 provinces will increase to 480 from 330 and there will be 320 lawmakers elected through PR system. This will increase the number of total lawmakers to 1259. When the leaders decided to create a 601-member Constituency, they had drawn flak from public. The people will sure pour their anger if the size of the parliaments becomes bigger than that provisioned in the constitution.
Moreover, bigger the size of the parliaments, the bigger will be the expenditure. However, for the power-hungry leaders, wastage of budget matters the least.
When the government has not yet formed the commission to delineate the constituencies, people have suspected the intentions of the government. Many analysts argue the government wants to extend the term of the present parliament by floating the impossible idea of keeping the existing 240 constituencies.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was crowned the title of ‘incompetency’ in 2002 is likely to win the crown again as he seems not serious about holding the polls of the parliament by January 21, 2018 the date when the term of the current parliament expires.
Of late, after criticism from all sides, PM Deuba has become ready to constitute a commission to reschedule the electoral constituencies. Even if constituted the commission, when will it start its works and how much time the Election Commission will get to hold the provincial and federal parliament elections, it is uncertain.

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