By Dale Dodge
Nepal has just finished having both federal and provincial elections. The results were surprising, but hopefully will result in a more stable government for the country going forward.
The Nepali Congress party has been in charge of government for the past 5 years, but always as part of a shaky coalition with other parties. In this election just completed, the other two major parties – both ‘communist’ – agreed to not split votes. The two parties are the UML (United Marxist Leninist) and the UMP (United Maoist Party). If the UML ran a candidate in a riding, then the UMP agreed to not run a candidate in opposition, and vice versa. The result was that there was no vote splitting amongst left leaning voters, and the two parties handily won the most seats in the parliament – 117 of the 165 seats available. Another 110 seats will be filled using a proportional voting system, but it will not change the result – the leftist coalition will govern for the next 5 years. The Nepali Congress party received only 21 seats.
Despite there being a minimum number of female candidates mandated, there were very few who ran for election. Roughly 5% of candidates were female, and at this time, I have not heard how many were elected.
Nepali people are hoping that the stable government will speed up the reconstruction of houses and buildings damaged by the earthquakes 2 ½ years ago. To date, only about 4% of the houses have been rebuilt.