November 2022 Analysis: Federalism

Posted by : Rasila Dhamala


Date : 2022-11-15

Election Results

In provincial level, in total, Nepali Congress got 112 seats, CPN UML 91, CPN Maoist 53, CPN Unified Socialist 15, Rashtriya Prajatantrik party 11, Janata Samajwadi party 11, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party 9, Janmaat Party 7, Nagarik Unmukti Party 5, Hamro Nepali Party and Nepal Majdur Kisan Party got 1 win each while 12 independent candidates too secured FPTP victories.
In province 1, CPN UML got 24 wins, Congress 15, CPN Maoist 9, CPN Socialist got 3, and Rashtriya Prajatantrik party got 3 wins. In Madhesh Province, CPN UML got 15 wins, Nepali Congress 12, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) 8, Janamat Party 6 and 6 independent candidates got their wins. In Bagmati Province, Nepali Congress got 24 wins, CPN Maoist 14, CPN UML 12, RPP 7, CPN Socialist 5, Nepal Majdur Kisan Party and Hamro Nepali Party each had 1 win. In Gandaki Province, Nepali Congress got 16 wins, CPN UML 12, CPN Maoist 5 and 1 independent candidate got their win. In Lumbini Province, CPN UML got 18 wins, Nepali Congress 18, CPN Maoist 4, Nagarik Unmukti Party 2, RPP 2 and 3 independent candidates got their win. In Karnali Province, Nepali Congress and CPN Maoist got 9 wins each, CPN UML got 5, and one independent candidate got their win. In Sudurpaschim Province, Nepali Congress got 12 wins, CPN UML 4, CPN Maoist 7, CPN Unified Socialist 3, Nagarik Unmukti Party 5 and one independent candidate too won the election.
As for the proportional representation votes, CPN UML led in six provinces and Nepali Congress led in Madhesh Province. These are mainly followed by CPN Maoist in 5 provinces (Bagmati, Gandaki, Lumbini, Karnali and Sudurpaschim), Rashtriya Prajatantrik Party in Province 1 and Janamat party in Madhesh Province.
From the provincial election, only 14 women have been elected from all seven provinces. None of the female candidates were elected from Karnali and Far-western provinces. In order to meet the 33% of the total representatives, at least 181 women should be in the provincial parliament. So, now about 167 women representatives will be selected from Proportional representation in total.

Nepali Congress-led Alliance Likely to Form Government in All Seven Provinces

Since no party could secure a simple majority to form government in any of the seven provinces, political parties began making efforts to form coalition governments when the results were still trickling in. As of now, Nepali Congress-led alliance is set to form a government in Bagmati Province. It is reported that JSP, LSP and Janamat Party could collaborate with the current ruling alliance to form a government in Madhesh Province. Similarly, the opposition alliance led by CPN UML is also on the run for coalition in Province 1, however, the Janata Samajwadi Party’s dramatic turn to withdraw from CPN UML-led alliance have reduced prospects of the CPN UML- led government. The Nepali Congress-led alliance is mostly likely to form a coalition government in the remaining provinces as well. This is because the coalition for the federal government will determine the coalition at the provincial levels, and now that the ruling alliance has agreed to continue with the current coalition at the centre, the ruling alliance is also expected to form governments in all seven provinces. However, since all seven provinces now have hung parliament, there might be instability in the government. 

Anti-incumbency Wave

 The surprise victory of independent candidates in the local polls held last May gave a way to a slew of independent candidacies for the provincial polls. As many as 1094 independent candidates forayed into the election, and 12 managed to pull off victories. Although this number isn’t high, the percentage of votes received by independent candidates is quite promising.

Provincial Polls Overshadowed

Both provincial and federal polls were conducted in a single phase on 20th November, 2022. However, most of the voters were not even aware about the candidates for provincial elections. Many didn’t even know sub-constituencies - let alone candidates. This has to do with a couple of factors. First and foremost, since the election was carried out in a single phase, which is justified when seen from the financial point of view, federal polls grabbed all the attention of media, politicos and general public alike. The political parties largely focused on federal elections, and federal candidates while neglecting federal polls. The EC too failed to make voters aware about the provincial elections and lack of a user-friendly database for election and candidates added to it. However, when seen from the point of effective federal practice, the single phase election has its own downsides. Even more so when the federal system hasn’t been fully institutionalized and the proper coordination between three tiers of government is still lacking.