Wednesday, February 27, 2008

33 parties, 2,191 candidates to contest 240 seats

The Election Commission (EC) informed Tuesday that 2,191 candidates -- 1,698 from 33 major and fringe political parties and 493 independents-- filed their nominations Monday in 240 election constituencies to contest the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) poll under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.
Among the candidates, 244 are women (including 29 independents).
According to the EC, the three major constituents of the ruling seven-party alliance-- Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Maoist -- have filed candidacies in all constituencies across the country, whereas People's Front Nepal (PFN) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have filed candidacies in 187 and 178 constituencies respectively.
Of their respective 240 candidates, both Nepali Congress and UML have fielded 26 women candidates each, whereas the Maoists have fielded 43 women. Similarly, PFN and RPP have fielded 20 and 14 women candidates respectively.
National People's Front has fielded candidacies for 121 constituencies, including 13 women. The CPN-United has fielded 109 candidates including 7 women candidates.
Likewise, Nepal Workers Peasants Party, CPN (Marxist-Leninist) and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi) led by the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies have fielded 71, 83 and 27 candidates respectively.
Four fringe political parties-- Nepal Rastriya Loktantrik Dal, Lok Kalyankari Janata Party Nepal, Nepal Dalit Shramik Morcha and Naba Nepal Prajatantrik Dal-- have fielded only one candidate each.
Meanwhile, two districts in the mountainous region with only one constituency each -- Manang and Mustang -- and Sarlahi Constituency No. 6 have just three candidates each, from Nepali Congress, UML and Maoist.
EC to ask parties to correct closed lists
While scrutinizing the closed lists of candidates submitted by 39 major and fringe political
parties for contesting 335 seats under the proportional electoral system, the EC has found that almost all the parties have failed to meet given requirements.
According to a source at the EC, no party in the seven-party alliance and no other party except the Samajbadi Prajatantrik Janata Party Nepal (SPJPN), has made its list inclusive or produced the required documents at the EC while submitting the closed list of candidates on February 20.
However, the SPJPN led by former CPN-UML parliamentarian Prem Bahadur Singh, who deserted the party following the royal coup on February 1, 2005 to form his own party, has met the necessary criteria, while submitting a closed list of 129 candidates.
As per the already published election schedule, the EC is set to inform the political parties to make necessary corrections in their lists from Wednesday and resubmit the lists at the EC by March 5.
Thereafter, the EC will make the lists public and invite all interested people to lodge complaints, if any, against the candidates.
The EC will then carry out necessary exercises related to challenges, scrutiny and deletion of ames from the closed lists and publish the final lists of candidates under the PR system and provide election symbols on March 25.
- Bishnu Budhathoki /ekantipur

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