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Revisit electoral system

 The Himalayan Times

7 July 2023

Revisit electoral system

An election is not simply a process to choose candidates but a powerful tool to promote a sense of belongingness and encourage political debate and dialogue among the electorate. A country cannot be democratic until its citizens have the opportunity to choose their representatives through an election. Periodic election is one of the key components in the process of democratic representation. It helps to create relationship between the state and its citizens. In other words, a fair and free election is the medium for the voters to express their opinion, select their representatives to represent them in the HoR, who in turn, form the government to govern the nation.

The most common systems include the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) and proportional representation (PR). The FPTP or the simple majoritarian system, is an electoral system in which citizens of a constituency cast votes for the candidate to represent them in the HoR. On the other hand, PR is the system in which people cast their votes directly for a political party. It is supposed to guarantee the representation of the marginalised community, religion, caste, gender and the people with disability. However, the PR system has been grossly manipulated and used to retain the kin and kith, including businessmen, in power. Such manipulation of the PR system has not only enhanced favouritism, but also created a sense of distaste among the voters towards it.

The new integrated Election Bill, which includes massive reforms “Sweeping poll reforms” (THT, 5 July, Page 4), such as, inclusion of “No vote” provision, fielding 33 per cent women candidate under the FPTP, barring people elected to the HoR and provincial assemblies under the PR system from contesting the PR election for a third time, and barring people who have lost an election from contesting the election again from other constituencies during the same tenure, as proposed by the Election Commission (EC) will bring sweeping reforms in the existing election system, making the political parties more accountable to the electorate.

Rai Biren Bangdel