Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meeting Ground Between Congress And Maoists: 75 Multi Member Constituencies

The first thing to realize is that there is no going back to the previous arrangement. Three big reasons.

One, there were going to be two big quarrels in the previous arrangement. How do you demarcate the constituencies, especially in the Terai? Was there anyone who actually understood precisely how the proportional part of the election was supposed to work? I don't know of anyone who did. There were going to be major quarrels after the election.

Two, to go back would be to try to rub the Maoist nose in the dust. That would be like blaming them for the election delay. Why did they cause the delay when they had to go back to the original arrangement in the first place?

Three, the ground has shifted on the republic question.

So how do you move forward? There have been two issues of contention. One has already been resolved. Both the Maoists and the Congress have agreed to the idea of a commitment proposal to a republic. That is good news.

As for the second and major issue of contention, I think the meeting ground could be to turn the 75 districts in the country into 75 multi-member constituencies. By the way, that is also the most popular form of elections in the world.

How would it work?

You would hold elections for a total of 240 seats. I believe 49% of those are allocated for the Terai districts. We already know how many seats are to be allocated for each district.

So if there is a district that has one seat, all parties will put up one candidate each, the one with the highest number of votes gets that seat.

If a district has two or more seats, you use the "largest remainder formula."

So if a district has two seats, and a total of 100,000 votes are cast, the quota is 50,000. A party that gets 50,000 votes gets one seat. But if that party gets 60,000 votes, it uses 50,000 votes for one seat, and it has a "remainder" of 10,000 votes. Say the Nepali Congress gets 60,000 votes, the UML gets 25,000 votes, and the Maoists get 15,000 votes. Then the Congress will use up 50,000 votes to get one seat, the top name on its list of two candidates. Then in the round two tally, you are looking at the Congress with 10,000 votes, the UML with 25,000 and the Maoists with 15,000 votes. The UML gets the second seat.

Say you have a district that has seven seats and 350,000 votes. Then the quota is 50,000 votes. Each party puts out a list of seven candidates each. And there are some independents also running. The vote count is as follows: Nepali Congress 60,000, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum 70,000, Nepal Sadbhavana Party 40,000, the UML 45,000, the Maoists 50,000, RPP 10,000, RJP 5,000, Independent A 50,000, and Independent B 20,000.

Round 1, the Nepali Congress uses up 50,000 votes to get one seat, the MJF also uses up 50,000 votes to get one seat, the Maoists use up their 50,000 votes to get one seat, and Independent A the same way. Of the seven seats four are gone.

Now you are left with three seats and the following vote tallies: Congress 10,000, MJF 20,000, Sadbhavana 40,000, UML 45,000, RPP 10,000, RJP 5,000, and Independent B 20,000. The three with the highest votes will get the three remaining seats, namely the UML, the Sadbhavana and the MJF.

I believe this formula of having 75 multi member constituencies with a fully PR system of closed lists and the largest remainder formula is the middle ground where the Maoists and the Congress can meet, and can hold elections in April.

You will also have to allow until February for more new parties to register.

And holding respectful dialogue with the armed Madhesi groups would be nice. You are looking at freeing a few tens of people form jail and feeding maybe 3,000 people for a few months after putting them in cantonments. That is a small price to pay for peace.

You don't want to not take this small step and have to postpone the elections again come April.

Advantages Of This Formula
  1. This is not the mixed election system that the Congress wants.
  2. This is not the fully PR election system that the Maoists want.
  3. This is the most popular form of holding elections in the world.
  4. Voters still get to know specific candidates they are voting for instead of some faceless party.
  5. Each winning candidate still has a specific constituency. In a fully PR system, the elected candidates get beholden more to their party leaders than to their constituents. In this formula, the constituents matter more.
  6. Independent candidates can also run.
  7. Voters cast votes on only one ballot for one party of their choice. That is less confusing than having two ballots. Or having to read names of candidates and voting for each individually.
  8. The total number of members of the constituent assembly is broght down to 240 from almost 500.
  9. There are no nominated members to the constituent assembly. The assembly can always hire or call on experts for specific expert advice.
  10. Simple majority in the resulting assembly will form the government, two third majority will write all articles of the constitution.
Compromise Formula: 75 Multi Member Constituencies (August 2007)
Further Compromise: Mixed Election With Reservations (March 2007)

On The Web

Proportional representation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How Proportional Representation Elections Work
there are several different kinds of PR systems in use around the world. ...... the principles underlying proportional representation systems are very straightforward and all of the systems are easy to use. ....... multi-member districts. ........ 50 single-seat districts ..... 10 five-seat PR districts .... 5 ten-seat PR districts ...... if the candidates of a party win 40% of the vote in a 10 member district, they receive four of the ten seats -- or 40% of the seats. If another party wins 20% of the vote, they get two seats, and so on. ........ Party list voting systems are by far the most common form of proportional representation. Over 80% of the PR systems used worldwide are some form of party list voting. It remains the system used in most European democracies and in many newly democratized countries, including South Africa. ........ Legislators are elected in large, multi-member districts. Each party puts up a list or slate of candidates equal to the number of seats in the district. Independent candidates may also run, and they are listed separately on the ballot as if they were their own party ....... a closed list system ..... the party fixes the order in which the candidates are listed and elected, and the voter simply casts a vote for the party as a whole. ....... the "largest remainder formula." ....... 100,000 votes were cast and ten seats are to be filled. 100,000/10 = 10,000 – which is the quota. ....... the Republican party received 38,000 votes, which is divided by 10,000 to produce three seats – with a remainder of 8,000. ........ After this first allocation of seats is complete than the remainder numbers for the parties are compared and the parties with the largest remainders are allocated the remaining seats.

In The News

PM meets with Nepal; reiterates NC stance against PR system NepalNews "They (Nepali Congress and Maoists) are both firm on their respective positions" ...... The pace of the political parleys has intensified
Prachanda hopeful of an outlet before Oct 29 He claimed that two demands made by his party – announcement of republic from the parliament and fully proportional election system – are not ‘conditions’ for a political solution.
JTMM-J extends unilateral ceasefire till November 17. ... taking into consideration the approaching festivals – Tihar and Chhath – which are celebrated by most Teraians.

PM to resume top-level parleys NepalNews
Govt to communicate with UN to extend UNMIN term
UN Secy Gen urges parties to agree on ‘future steps’ the peace process in Nepal is facing unprecedented challenges ...... The UN Secretary-General also painted a grim picture of the human rights situation in Nepal in his report. “The overall situation has grown more worrying,” he reports, “with increasing violence and instability in parts of the country.” ..... “In this environment it remains to be seen how far political parties will be able to exercise their freedom of assembly and association.”

Katawal dismisses rumours of military coup NepalNews Katawal has vehemently refuted the possibility of a coup by the Nepal Army. ...... the NA was committed to democratic system and that it would continue to follow the orders by the government
Minister Pokharel asks govt to ‘seriously reconsider’ Maoist demands Talking to media persons in Mahottari district Tuesday, Minister Pokharel said that the government should “seriously reconsider” in order not to allow the peace process to get derailed. ...... the election date would be fixed as soon as the current political impasse is resolved
Parties engage in consultations to end political deadlock
Maoists may withdraw republican demand if there is agreement on PR system: Gajurel under no circumstances will it compromise on its demand for adoption of a fully proportional representation based electoral system for the CA polls.
Maoists will quit parliament if demands not met, warns Bhattarai

Tarai churning Prashant Jha Nepali Times Madhesi leaders share a strange relationship–they fight amongst themselves and fragment, yet co-operate on issues. Mainstream or armed, national or local, they are all in touch with each other. Local factors are more important than pan-Madhes issues in many cases. No alliance is static. The line between politics and crime is blurred, and caste remains the central determinant in political choices. ......... a NC-MJF-NSP alliance is still possible. ..... Rajendra Mahato and his aides suspect that the prime minister instructed the CEC not to award his faction the original party status, with the motive of weakening the madhesi forces. They are thinking of beginning a movement demanding a commitment to a regional parliament and regional prime minister in the tarai before the CA polls. ......... The madhesi armed groups are thrilled.The madhesi armed groups are thrilled...... Both Goit and Jwala Singh have assured the parties of behind-the-scenes support in case they decide to go ahead with any agitation. Their problem is that all of them have a severe resource crunch. ....... an alliance between Pawan, Jwala, and the MJF dissident faction. Jwala Singh has been steadily increasing his numbers and has managed to avert splits by giving his district units a high degree of autonomy as long as it shares the loot with the central leader. ...... constant communication between their district leaders along with those of both factions of MJF. ...... The MJF split had more to do with the Yadav non-Yadav divide than policy differences. A dissident leader says, “Those who stayed with Upendra are Yadavs and the rest came with us. That is natural.” ........ Upendra and Goit share an acrimonious relationship because both are Yadavs from adjacent districts and know only one can make it big. ...... Jwala is a dalit, and wants to engineer a dalit-brahman alliance in the Mayawati style. His district commanders are mostly upper caste ........ Madhesi brahmans are happy with the movement but are not keen on greater democratisation within because of their limited population share. Most dalits know that madhesi high castes remain their primary oppressors. ...... In this almost incomprehensible madhes maze, the only certainty is there will be more confusion and disorder. Polarisation will continue and alliances will emerge and collapse.
Bogged down CK Lal Donor activities in Nepal go largely unexamined by civil society and the press. It’s Foucault’s famous formulation at work: money, power and knowledge implicate each other. Those who make opinion here in Kathmandu do so freely, but the extent of their freedom is defined by the knowledge-power nexus at the service of international agencies. ...... the hollow promise of ‘inclusiveness’ ...... overwhelmingly English-speaking young achievers from upper-middle class families, the kind that has back-slapping familiarity with the centres of legislative, executive, judicial and media power in Kathmandu. ........ Large white SUVs, jet-setting ways and a wide lifestyle gap are a part of the neo-colonialism of aid. Waste and extravagance set the lords of poverty apart from the native substrate. ...... phantom or boomerang aid (the money that is paid to home-country consultants and suppliers in the name of the recipient state), edifice complex (building for show rather than utility), fix-up deals (providing sinecures to native elites), chasing rainbows (policy canvassing at international fora) and politics of patronage ......... Donors will continue to have their way as long as they don’t face scrutiny from their partners in Nepal’s civil society.
Futile neutrality Excessive timidity is eroding UNMIN’s credibility The mission’s high visibility (the takeover of one of Kathmandu’s grandest buildings for its office, its host of cars, jeeps, helicopters and planes that have become a constant feature of the Nepali landscape regardless of bandas or fuel shortages) contributes to the illusion that it was a force far more powerful than any indigenous political party or institution. ......... inherent in the very structure of UN missions and has been seen earlier in East Timor, Cambodia and elsewhere ....... UNMIN adopts a very narrow interpretation of its mandate. It is true that its support for elections and Nepal’s peace process is chiefly of a technical nature. ....... a spurious definition of neutrality: one that apportions equal responsibility to all parties at all times, no matter what the circumstances. ...... the future of Maoist combatants, living conditions in the cantonments and discussion on Security Sector Reform. ...... If it continues to interpret its already restricted mandate so narrowly, UNMIN will become increasingly irrelevant even if it stays beyond January.
People in war there was total silence inside the hall which was filled to capacity. ...... how ten years of violent conflict in Nepal had brutalised society. ...... a photograph that showed three dead goats and an elderly farmer, their bodies torn apart by a bomb dropped from a helicopter. ....... a photograph of a woman caressing the body of her policeman husband who lay among many dead scattered on a blood-soaked field ..... the level of engagement during the conflict, how even usually ceremony-bound security forces didn’t find time to arrange basic coffins for their departed colleagues. ...... . A combatant ploughing the field with a .303 slung over his shoulders.
Royal Maoists

Army assigned to complete 11 roads this year Kantipur 11 roads linking several district headquarters ...... Surkhet, Jumla, Jonsom, Baglung, Beni, Mustang, Besi-sahar, Chame, Musikot, Bhurtibang, Chhimchu and Jajarkot. ...... part of the government’s ambitious plan to connect all 75 district headquarters to the national road mainstream within three years. ...... The district headquarters of impoverished Jumla, Kalikot and Jajarkot districts have already been connected with the roadways this year. ..... Bajhang, Mugu, Humla, Dolpa, Mustang, Manang, Solu and Bhojpur districts are yet to be connected through road.
New date for CA polls will be fixed after Dashain: PM the Maoists would rejoin the government once the fresh date for the CA polls is finalized. ...... the Maoists have failed to abandon the attitude of armed group even after inking the comprehensive peace agreement. ...... “It takes time for change. Prachanda and Baburam alone cannot help it,” he said.
PR system will add years to CA polls, says UML chief claimed that the Constituent Assembly elections will not be feasible for the next five years if the poll is switched to the proportional representation (PR) system of voting now. ....... the UML chieftain said that if the elections were further delayed then the issue of a fresh census (for the PY system) will surface. ...... Both the motions are destined to fail without the Nepali Congress’s support. The Maoists, on the other hand, have warned of political confrontation if the House does not endorse the motions.
Armed group attacks NC leaders
फोरमद्वारा सर्वपक्षीय सम्मेलन माग

Maoists will quit parliament if demands not met, warns Bhattarai NepalNews "If the parties are not trying to save monarchy there is no reason why the House cannot announce republic," he argued. Bhattarai had arrived in Kakani with his wife Hisila Yami for a three-day long vacation Saturday.
Maoists are helping the palace: Poudel
Clash between locals and APF men leaves dozen injured in Jajarkot The clash started following an argument between the local youths and APF men over the issue of eve-teasing by the latter. Situation got tense after the locals started pelting stones at APF personnel and picketing the APF base in Khalanga. ..... The locals staged protest in front of the APF camp Monday morning as well, demanding that the APF based be removed from the area.

Prachanda, Nepal discuss possible solution to political crisis NepalNews Both the leaders stressed the need to resolve the differences with the seven-party alliance before the special session of the parliament resumes on Oct 29

NC ready for commitment proposal on republic, but against proportional system: Koirala NepalNews He hinted that the Maoist proposal to adopt proportional system would not be accepted by the NC under any circumstances. ..... He also said he doubted Maoist chairman Prachanda’s commitment to holding CA election.
Govt is a total failure, says Nepal Nepal has described the Nepali Congress-led government as a “total failure”. ....... the home administration has time and again proved incompetent in maintaining law and order. ...... The UML general secretary also said that the parties must be able to find political consensus before the special session of the parliament convenes on Oct 29. According to him, setting new election date without reaching a consensus will be meaningless. ........ He further said lack of understanding among the parties on major political agendas would ultimately lead the country back to conflict. ..... Saying that the Maoists’ exclusion would make constituent assembly election useless, Nepal stressed that the elections be held within 2064 B.S (mid-April 2008).

Black Spider Group’s kingpin arrested in Delhi NepalNews Sandeep Pathak alias Milan Lama, the alleged kingpin of Black Spider Group, a dreaded extortion ring active in Nepal ...... cting on a complaint from a trader who frequently used to travel between India and Nepal in March this year during which he received an extortion call on his mobile. ...... "The caller identified himself as Sandeep Pathak alias Milan Lama from International Black Spider Group and demanded Rs 1 crore as extortion money. He threatened to kill him if he did not provide the money" ...... Police apprehended Lama from Ranjit Nagar in west Delhi with the help of a technical surveillance team. ...... Lama has five members in his gang that was formed in 2002. ..... formed the gang with his schoolmates Sudhir Thapa, Ganesh Karki, Akash, Ganesh Lama and Santosh. ..... 2002 ... demanded Rs 7 million from chairman of a medical college in Kathmandu. The gang received Rs 1 million from him. ...... wanted to spread its activities all over the world. ...... Ganesh Karki and Akash were the sharp shooters of the gang who used to target people refusing to pay money ...... The gang had shot and critically injured at least four prominent figures in Kathmandu, including two medical doctors and a foreign employment agent, for not paying the amount asked for.
NOC stops petroleum supply for four days The monthly loss of NOC, which is the sole supplier of petroleum in Nepal, has reached Rs 380 million by now. The Corporation has been demanding that the government either end subsidy on petroleum products or allow it to adjust the prices to balance the losses.
Army diffuses two bombs near Koteshwor

फोरमद्वारा सर्वपक्षीय सम्मेलन माग Kantipur रौतहट, कार्तिक १ - मधेसी जन अधिकार फोरमका अध्यक्ष उपेन्द्र यादवले सरकार विघटन गरी सर्वपक्षीय साथै सर्वदलीय लोकतान्त्रिक शक्तिको राष्ट्रिय सम्मेलन गरी नयाँ सरकार बनाउन माग राखेका छन् । पटकपटक संविधानसभा निर्वाचनको मिति सार्ने सरकारको औचित्य समाप्त भएको बताउँदै अध्यक्ष यादवले बिहीबार गौरमा सञ्चारकर्मीसँगको भेटमा भने- 'राष्ट्रिय सम्मेलनबाट बनेको सरकारले मात्र निर्वाचन गराउन सक्छ । वर्तमान अन्तरिम संसद्को औचित्य समाप्त भइसकेको छ ।' उनले प्रधानमन्त्री गिरिजाप्रसाद कोइरालासहित सबै विधायकले तत्काल राजीनामा दिएर राष्ट्रिय सहमतिको आधार खडा गर्नुपर्ने बताए । सरकारबाट हटे लगत्तै माओवादीले आसन्न निर्वाचन बहिष्कारको घोषणा गरी नेपालको अन्योलपूर्ण राजनीतिलाई थप अन्धकारतर्फ धकेलेको आरोप लगाउँदै उनले भने- 'मुलुकमा राजावादी र माओवादी दुवै संविधानसभाविरुद्ध एकै ठाउँमा उभिएका छन् ।' कडा सुरक्षा घेराबीच गरिएको पत्रकार भेटघाटमा अध्यक्ष यादवले पत्रकार वीरेन्द्र साहको अपहरण गर्ने सत्तामा छन् या बाहिर सरकारले किन पक्रन सक्दैन भनी प्रश्न गरे । उनले कान्तिपुरमा भएको माओवादी आक्रमणदेखि कपिलवस्तुमा भड्किएको साम्प्रदायिक दंगा सरकारले रोक्न नसकेको आरोप लगाए । फोरमको दोस्रो राष्ट्रिय महाधिवेशन यही फागुन ४ देखि वीरगन्जमा हुने अध्यक्ष यादवले जानकारी गराए । गौरमा मंगलबार र बुधबार बसेको विस्तारित बैठकले गत भदौमा सरकारसँग भएको २२ बुँदे सम्झौता कार्यान्वयन नभएको आरोप लगाउँदै मसिर ६ देखि संघर्ष गर्ने घोषणा गरेको छ

King Gyanendra visits Hanumandhoka despite govt 'ban' NepalNews
PM Koirala attends army's Fulpati parade
Govt not to disburse perks to 38 palace staffers
K.C appointed NC spokesperson also promoted K.C to the position of joint general secretary.
NRN conference concludes pledging to set up $100 m Nepal Investment Fund a 15-point Kathmandu Declaration. ...... jointly signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Shahana Pradhan, president of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Chandi Raj Dhakal and newly elected president of NRN Association Dr. Upendra Mahato. ...... set up a $ 100 million ‘Nepal Investment Fund’ within a year of registration of NRNA as an institution. ..... unanimously elected Dr Upendra Mahato as the NRNA president for the third consecutive term. ........ Dev Man Hirachan and Ram Pratap Thapa have been elected unopposed as vice presidents. Bhim Udas, Sagar Nepal and Pritam Shrestha have been elected general secretary, secretary and treasurer respectively. Indra Ban, Ganesh Kumar Ijam, Chandra Prasad Sapkota, Chiranjibi Dhakal and Naresh Koirala have been selected as regional coordinators. Dipak Kumar Khadka, Chola Prasad Pathak, Janaki Gurung, Rajendra Shrestha and Rudra Sharma have been chosen deputy regional coordinators. ...... All members of the executive body, except the deputy regional coordinator for Asia-Pacific, were elected unanimously.
Nepali Congress under Koirala: The Great Betrayal without allowing discussions – and without any working strategy and national direction. He has taken for granted that what he decides is the decision of the nation. ........ He has made sure that people who differ with him within the Congress have no voice in the public. ..... He has also fully stopped the line of communication with the rank-and-file of the Congress. ....... extremists and communal elements-- ...... he thinks the Congress will come back to power – without its voters, because the goodwill that the Congress has lost will be compensated by the Madheshi Janadhikar Forum – a new outfit supposedly going to be his new partner in the forthcoming elections. ...... Even a fool knows that republicanism is a Maoist slogan. ..... Among the democrats, federalism is the slogan of some disgruntled people, who want more participation in the political system, but have little ideas of how the system might work. ....... desires of the ethnic communities for greater identity and participation ..... No one can guarantee that another Maoist War will not break out here again. ....... What purpose a constituent assembly will serve if the people who have the right to vote do not have the protection from fear. ...... Unfortunately, a well functioning system of the check and balance has been replaced with the concept of the “sovereignty of eight parties” in the framework of the Interim Constitution, which looks like a manifesto of a totalitarian regime. It does not have any concept of participation and inclusiveness. Again the rule by law that those who do not buy its formulations, or claim their right to dissent with the constitutional carnage of the nation, are not to be allowed within the interim mechanisms make farce of what has been defined as the transition regime. ........ The demographic change that Koirala and his Company have brought in Nepal by distributing citizenship to all willing Indians still has to show its teeth. ...... all institutions are in limbo, and civil, judicial and military bureaucracies are out of touch with the Prime Minister ........ revolutions have frequently been successful to destroy the status quo, but not always to create and sustain a viable alternative regime.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sort of voting makes no sense as the "selected" members of the party become "kamayas" of the party and cannot truly be expected to represent to people. People should be allowed to vote for people directly...