Nepal’s ruling Congress party set to strike election pact with coalition partners

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By Santosh Ghimire

New Delhi, July 19: The Nepal Congress (NC), which is the main ruling party in Nepal, has decided to forge an electoral alliance with its four coalition partners for the upcoming general and provincial elections which are scheduled to be held in November this year.

A crucial week-long meeting of CN’s central committee, which ended on Monday, reached a decision to that effect, according to party spokesman Prakash Sharan Mahat.

“Our party has officially decided to forge an electoral alliance with the coalition partners for the upcoming general and provincial elections. From now on, the party leadership will start a dialogue with the main leaders of the ruling coalition partners,” said- he declared.

The Nepali Congress Party’s proposal to forge the electoral alliance among the coalition partners in the upcoming elections stems from fears that the CPN (Maoist Centre), a key government partner, could side with the main opposition party , the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) led by KP Sharma Oli in the upcoming elections, according to observers.

In a press release on Monday evening, the Nepalese Congress Party pledged to lead the country on the path of development, uphold the constitution and further strengthen democracy if given the chance to lead a stable government again. .

In the local elections held in May this year, the Nepali Congress forged an electoral alliance with the coalition partners in the current government, which catapulted the party into first place.

Thus, the Nepalese Congress party is now pushing for the holding of general and provincial elections at the earliest, encouraged by the election results at the local level, party leaders said. “We want to secure a clear majority in the House of Representatives in the next election, as we did in the last local polls,” NC spokesman Mahat said.

Although the party’s Central Working Committee – in which the party chairman has a strong majority – took a firm decision to forge an electoral alliance with coalition partners on Monday, strong voices were raised within of the Nepalese Congress to stand alone in the elections. .

Those who opposed the idea of ​​forging an alliance believed that the party’s constituency base would eventually erode in the long run due to such coalition agreements. Senior leader Shekhar Koirala was one of them who was against any electoral partnership with other parties.

In a recent press conference, Koirala said the NC should fight the election alone so they can show their strength. CN’s decision comes at a time when some junior leaders of the two main communist parties — the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) — have been holding talks to explore the possibility of a new alliance in the next elections.

According to a cabinet minister, the government is preparing to announce the dates of the next elections by the end of July.

Early in the first week of July, the Election Commission of Nepal had recommended the government to hold provincial and parliamentary elections on November 18 in a single phase. Beginning with the next federal election, 165 members will be elected to the House of Representatives, the lower house of federal parliament, under the first-past-the-post electoral system and 110 will be elected under the proportional representation system.

Similarly, for seven provincial assemblies, 330 members will be elected by direct ballot and 220 will be elected by proportional ballot.

According to the constitution, Nepal holds local, provincial and federal elections every five years. It will be the second time the Himalayan nation has held federal and provincial elections after adopting its first democratic republic constitution in September 2015. The country’s national charter, also the first full-fledged post-war constitution, had federated the country into seven provinces. and 753 local units.

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