Post the successful completion of its local-level polls that received global attention, Nepal is all set for its upcoming provincial and parliamentary polls slated for November 26 and December 07, 2017.
Nepal’s legislative election 2017 has been a long-awaited aspect for Nepal and the world as well, as the country is expected to enter a new era of development with the upcoming elections.
Besides the formation of new constitution and unexpected political alliances that shook the country’s political landscape, this election has also opened avenues for various other interesting aspects.
In a major move, dozens of businessmen including the famous people have decided to foray into politics through the upcoming polls.
Majority of the business community people who acquired part tickets include industrialists, contractors, overseas and tourism entrepreneurs.
While a few are contesting for parliamentary seats, a substantial number of businessmen are also contesting in provincial polls.
Tek Bahadur Gurung (an overseas entrepreneur), Prakash Singh Karki (President of Nepal Freight Forwarders’ Association), Ramesh Dhamala (Former President of Trekking Agencies’ Association Nepal) are among many others from the business community contesting in the provincial and parliamentary polls.
In an announcement on November 02, 2017, the Nepali Army concluded that the formation of electoral alliances has significantly reduced the threat of political clashes during the upcoming polls.
The Army made this statement after a detailed analysis on the current security situation across the country, as per the individual departmental reports.
As per the government’s election security strategy, Army stands as the final security layer after temporary security staff, Nepali Police and Armed Police Force.
Moving away from traditional methods of pasting posters, writing on walls and distributing pamphlets, Nepali political parties and candidates started using digital and social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, among others for their election campaigns for upcoming polls.
Contesting candidates and their supporters were found to have inundated social media pages with their campaigning audio and video material.
The era of election posters is gone. The most effective publicity tool in the digital age is social media,” says Janaki Lal Basnet, NC’s provincial assembly candidate from the Dang District.
“I have been planning to expedite my poll campaign online,” says CPN-Maoist Center leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara.
“I have tried to modernize my poll publicity, using QR code even in traditional publicity tools,” says State Minister for Information and Communications Tapta Bahadur Bista.
Despite large expectations, the upcoming polls are most likely to register only a less percentage of women representatives in the Nepali Parliament, says Nepali Constitution experts.
While the current constitutional rules allow 33 percent women representation in Nepali Parliament, the constitutional experts feel that might not work out in the new constitution to be formed out of upcoming polls.
“If we assume that 55 women are elected in the House of Representatives and 22 in the Upper House that will mean only 77 women in the 334-member Parliament, 33 short of the required number,” says Chandra Kanta Gyawali, a constitutional expert.
According to Gyawali, the number of women contestants fielded looks concerning.
The political parties fielded only around 50 percent women candidates in the parliamentary PR polls, Gwayali adds.
The top three parties fielded only nine women contests women for the first phase of the parliamentary FPTP polls.
While the Nepali Election Commission is doubting 33 percent women seats in the Nepali Parliament, CPN-Maoist Centre claims to have fielded 60 women candidates under the PR list and UML claims that the party’s PR list has 60 percent women candidates.