Voting in Nepal: Voting continues to elect new government in Nepal, chances of return of ruling coalition

Pankaj Prasad
Nepali PM Sher Bahadur Deuba
Nepali PM Sher Bahadur Deuba

Voting is underway to elect a new government in Nepal.

Voting continues in Nepal today to elect national and provincial governments. A large number of people are voting for the 275 seats in the Federal Parliament and 550 seats in the Legislative Assemblies in the seven provinces. Around 1.79 crore voters are voting since 7 am local time on Sunday. This polling will be held till 5 pm. During this, out of total 275 members of the Federal Parliament, 165 will be elected through direct voting, while the remaining 110 will be elected through the proportional vote system. Similarly, out of total 550 members of provincial assemblies, 330 will be elected by direct vote, while 220 will be elected by proportional vote system. The counting of votes and results will start as soon as the polling ends, although it may take about a week for the final results to come.  

Analysts keeping a close eye on Nepal's electoral politics believe that this time also a hung government will be formed. Broadly speaking, there is little hope of forming a stable government at the national level, as no party seems to be getting a clear majority in the elections in Nepal, which has been battling with political instability for the last decade and a half. However, several pre-poll surveys are claiming that the return of the ruling coalition at the national level is certain.

The term of any Prime Minister has not been completed in one and a half decade

After the civil war in Nepal, the 239-year-old monarchy came to an end. However, since then governments have changed 10 times in Nepal. Apart from this, no Prime Minister has been able to complete his term since 2008. In the absence of a clear majority for one party, the government is unable to take decisions on many important issues, due to which the economy of Nepal is being badly affected.

The conflict between the two coalitions is largely a struggle for power between the pro-democracy and Maoist ideologies. However, while forming the government, the parties of both the ideologies form an alliance on the basis of common minimum agenda. The Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist, CPN-Unified Socialist and Democratic Samajwadi Party, longtime rivals of each other, are part of the current ruling coalition. 

More than five thousand candidates are in the fray, 5,907 candidates are in the fray for the national and provincial elections. Around 2,412 candidates are contesting the parliamentary elections, of whom 867 are independents. Over 22,000 polling stations have been set up to make polling seamless. The Election Commission of Nepal has deployed 2,76,000 employees and about three lakh security personnel on election duty for elections in 77 districts of the country.

The Election Commission and the army tightened their gear

Nepal's Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dinesh Kumar Thapliya said that the people of Nepal are going to elect the government in a free, fair and fear-free environment. Nepali Army Chief General Prabhuram Sharma met Thaplia and discussed the security related issues in detail to ensure fair elections. The army chief said that Nepal's international borders have been sealed for 72 hours for security and fair elections. Apart from this, the Election Commission has also banned the sale and transportation of liquor.  

same promises of opposition  

The ruling coalition led by current Prime Minister Deuba and the opposition coalition led by former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli have made similar promises to woo voters. For example, the ruling coalition has promised to provide 2.5 lakh jobs every year, while the opposition coalition has promised 5 lakh jobs. Apart from this, a promise of good governance, accountable and transparent government has also been made. Apart from this, China's interference and border dispute is also a big issue of elections. Apart from this, maintaining good relations with both India and China is also included in the election promises.

Hindu nation and nationalism is also an issue

Main opposition leader and former Prime Minister Oli has promised to bring a scheme like Make in Nepal on the lines of Make in India to promote Nepali nationalism. The Rashtriya Prajatantra Party, led by Kamal Thapa, is contesting the elections on the issues of re-establishing Nepal as a Hindu nation, direct election of the prime minister, and restoring a formal constitutional monarchy.