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Directly 33 percent female representation is required

सिर्जना काफ्ले

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Periodic elections are an important component of democracy. Citizens choose their representatives through elections and expect their wants and needs to be fulfilled through those representatives. Elections strengthen the process of democratization of society and state. It also helps in empowering politically marginalized genders and communities.

Directly 33 percent female representation is required

The first direct election system in Nepal started in 2015. There were seven women candidates in the election for the 109-member House of Representatives, but only one, Dwarikadevi Thakurani, was elected. Even at a time when there was a unitary system of government and the question of women's rights was not a priority, it was meaningful for her to win the election as a candidate.

It also gave the message that women are capable of contesting and winning elections when given the opportunity. In the political movement of Nepal, women have been making important contributions since long ago.

Until the mixed system was adopted in the 2064 Constituent Assembly elections, the direct system was in practice in the parliamentary elections. After the people's movement of 2062/63, the country accepted proportional inclusion in principle. It adopted a mixed electoral system of first-past-the-post and proportional representation.

It can be said that it has started a new era from the angle of political representation. Women's representation at the policy-making level was weak when there was only direct election system. After adopting the mixed election system, the number of women has increased, but the number of women who are directly elected is less.

In 2048 and 2051, only seven women were elected in the House of Representatives, in 2056, 12 were elected. At that time, the House of Representatives had 250 members. In the Constituent Assembly elections of 2064 and 1970, 240 members were directly elected. At that time, 30 and 10 women were elected respectively. Only 6 women in 2074 and 9 in 2079 were directly elected as members of the House of Representatives. Currently, 175 people are directly elected in the House of Representatives. In 2074, 17 women and 14 women in 2079 were directly elected to the Provincial Assembly. A total of 330 people are directly elected in the state assembly.

The data above shows that women are able to compete in direct elections in both the House of Representatives and the State Assembly. But the fact that only a small number of women are elected through the direct system shows that the character of Nepal's political parties and society is still male-dominated. As much as it is important to do an in-depth analysis of why women and marginalized communities win or lose in political competition, it is also necessary to discuss the role played by women and marginalized communities in the political transformation or structural change of Nepal.

The Interim Constitution 2063 and the Constitution made by the Constituent Assembly stipulate that the representation of women in the state and political parties must be at least 33 percent. This should be considered a positive change to some extent. Currently, women are represented in the House of Representatives by 91 (33.09 percent) and in the State Assembly by 200 women (36.36 percent).

At the local level, 13 women have been elected as municipal heads and 12 as rural village presidents, which means there are 25 women as heads of local governments. Similarly, there are 233 deputy chiefs and 335 deputy chiefs in the local government. There are women ward presidents in 69 wards.

Although the representation of women in all three levels of government is increasing numerically, it is not satisfactory. When the government is formed, women are made ministers. But the representation of women in the Council of Ministers is low. Recently, a woman has been given the responsibility of the provincial head in Madhesh. Still, the conditions and power to transform the system, values ​​and power relations created by the patriarchal society have not been prepared. The issue of inclusive representation does not seem to be fruitful yet. Only 33 percent presence of women in the House of Representatives cannot fulfill the concept and objective of proportional participation.

The constitution has a provision to ensure 33 percent representation of women in all areas of the state. Representation of women in the direct system is not ensured in the same proportion. The lack of inclusiveness is seen in the candidates nominated by the political parties in direct elections. Parties often field only men as candidates for direct election, with very few women getting a direct chance. Another problem is that parties field women candidates in constituencies where party opinion is weak. In other words, men have a monopoly on direct elections.

Therefore, in accordance with the principle of proportional inclusion, at least 33 percent participation of women should be ensured even in the system of being elected first. This ensures meaningful representation of women in the House of Representatives. When few women are directly nominated and not all of them win, women are chosen proportionally to achieve 33 percent representation in the House of Representatives or the Provincial Assembly. In this way, the leadership of the political party tends to be affected by the selection of candidates.

Women's political access can also be expanded if there is an arrangement to make women victorious through direct elections. Competent women also reach the policy-making level. In the context of the preparation of the electoral law amendment, political parties should pay attention to ensure 33 percent female representation directly.

प्रकाशित : चैत्र २९, २०८० ०८:०२
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