Political parties will now have to nominate women in almost all of the seats for House of Representatives (HoR) through the proportional representation (PR) system after just 27 women have been elected to the federal parliament even after 21 women were elected to the National Assembly. The constitution has a mandatory provision requiring all the parties to have at least one-third (33.33%) women in the federal parliament including HoR and National Assembly.
Article 84(8) of the constitution says ‘Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Part, at least one third of the total number of members elected from each political party representing in the Federal Parliament must be women. If women are not so elected as to constitute one third of the elected members of any political party under sub-clause (a) of clause (1) and sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of Article 86, such political party must, in electing members under sub-clause (b) of clause (1), so elect that women members constitute at least one third of the total number of members elected to the Federal Parliament from that party.
A total of 331 lawmakers are elected to the federal parliament including 275 in the HoR and 56 in the National Assembly.
The Election Commission (EC) could not announce final results of HoR due to the mandatory provision as it was not clear how many women candidates of each party will win in the National Assembly which meant it could not calculate how many women each party must send in the PR list for HoR to ensure at least one-third of its federal lawmakers are women.
It is now preparing to write to the five national parties directing them to send at least a fixed number of women and other clusters in the PR list to ensure they comply with the mandatory provision.
No woman candidate won in the open or other categories apart from the 21 allocated for women in the National Assembly. CPN-UML has 11 female lawmakers in the National Assembly, Nepali Congress (NC) six, CPN (Maoist Center) three and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) one.
Similarly, just six women–including three from Maoist Center, two from UML and one from Rastriya Janamorcha–have been elected to the HoR through the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.
UML has won 80 seats in HoR through the FPTP system. It has won 27 seats in National Assembly and has been allocated 41 seats for HoR through the PR system based on the PR votes it received in the federal election.
This means UML will have a total of 148 seats in the federal parliament which means it must have at least 50 female lawmakers. It currently has only 13 women including two in HoR through FPTP system and 11 in the National Assembly. It should, therefore, send at least 37 women in the PR list. This means just four of the men in UML’s closed list of PR candidates can be elected.
NC does not have even a single woman in the 23 HoR seats it won through the FPTP system. Six of the 13 seats it won in the National Assembly have been won by women. It has been allocated 40 HoR seats through PR system. NC will have 76 lawmakers in the federal parliament which means it must have at least 26 women. It will now have to send at least 20 women through the PR system to comply with the mandatory provision.
Maoist Center, similarly, must now send women for all but one of the 17 HoR seats it has been allocated through the PR system. Three out of the 36 HoR seats it won through FPTP system were won by female candidates while three out of its 12 members in National Assembly are women. The party will have 65 lawmakers in the federal parliament which means 22 of its lawmakers must be women. It must, therefore, send at least 16 women through PR list for HoR as it currently has only six women.
FSFN has been allocated six HoR seats through PR system. It had won 10 HoR seats through FPTP system and two seats in the National Assembly. It will, in this way, have 18 lawmakers in the federal parliament which means at least six of them must be women. It must, therefore, send five women in the PR list to meet the mandatory provision as one of its National Assembly members is woman.
Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP), meanwhile, will not comply with the mandatory one-third provision even after sending an all-woman PR list. All 13 of its candidates who were elected to the HoR are men. It will have a total of 19 lawmakers in the federal parliament which means at least seven of them must be women. It will fall short by one even after sending six women in the PR list.