| March 21, 2019

Baglung locals strongly seek threshold for PR seats

BAGLUNG, July 20: Representatives from various walks of life here in the district have suggested to the lawmakers to set threshold for seats under proportional representation (PR) electoral system."Lack of threshold would weaken the national government encouraging unwanted foul play for formation and dissolution of a coalition," said senior lawyer Padma Nath Sharma at an interaction held to collect feedback on draft constitution here on Sunday.

Many countries have set threshold for PR seats and practiced it as basic democratic criteria for parties to prove their eligibility. This threshold starts from the minimum of two percent of the total votes, he said citing examples.
Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML ahead of the election for Constituent Assembly (CA) in 2013 had lobbied in favor of threshold provision but they had to give in due to strong protests by UCPN (Maoist), Madhes-based and other fringe parties.

If, for example, one percent threshold provision is introduced, a political party must secure at least one percent of the total valid votes cast across the country to be eligible for a seat in parliament under PR quota.

Representatives here in the district were of the view that the more the number of political parties with a seat or two, the uglier the situation becomes in parliament.

Participating in the interaction, another lawyer Ram Sharma said one of the major reasons behind the practice of horse-trading in parliamentary system is the lack of threshold provision. "It has ultimately weakened the parliamentary system," he said. They also emphasized the need for barring convicts from contesting in election.

The Election Commission has been suggesting to the major political parties to include the threshold provision and bar criminals from contesting the elections.

Reiterating the same proposal, Bikash Poudel, lecturer at Gupteshwar Multiple Campus said lack of threshold would promote the culture of splitting political parties to form a separate organization and lobby for power-sharing in the government.

Removing the threshold would encourage tendency to form a political party with a group of family members, near and dear ones and seek a seat in parliament under PR quota, said Bishwa Nath Regmi, former chairperson of Nepal Red Cross Society, Baglung.

Handing over the suggestions to CA member Prakash Sharma Poudel in Hatiya of constituency 2, most of the locals stressed on setting threshold for PR seats. "Locals here in my constituency have strongly recommended that we must include this provision to check anomalies," Poudel told Republica.

Meanwhile, legal experts expressed concern over CA's failure to realize the need for a court to settle family disputes. An ever increasing number of cases of family disputes are reaching the district court, said advocate Ambika Shrestha.

Property and other family disputes form of large chunk of cases filed in courts every year, which has slowed justice delivery and made it difficult for the victims of crimes to seek justice, said Shrestha.