The by-elections, held to pick the representatives for the vacant posts in the House of Representatives, State Assembly and local units on Nov 30, have sent strong message to the major and minor political parties. Of the total 52 posts, the ruling Communist Party of Nepal secured 31, opposition Nepali Congress (NC) 13, Socialist Party 4, Ratsriya Janata Party (RJP) 3, Rastriya Janamorcha (left alliance) 1 and independent (CPN rebel)1.
The outcomes are clearly the writing on the wall for the CPN. CPN lost elections to the post of Ward Chairs in Bharatapur of Chitwan and Dang which are supposed to be dominated by the party chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel respectively. The polls took place in the aftermath of the unification of erstwhile CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre. The arithmetic of results of last elections was in the favour of the CPN but it was not the case during the by-polls.
Now NCP needs to work extra hard to maintain its credibility and popularity while the Nepali Congress needs to transform itself if it wants to maintain its relevance, leaders from both parties told the Post.
When the 2017 elections were held, the Nepal Communist Party had not yet been formed and the UML and the Maoists both contested the elections separately, though as an alliance. These by-elections are the first polls that the newly unified Nepal Communist Party is contesting. Since the by-elections are being conducted after the unification of the two communist parties, they must own more seats. But they were unable to retain all their seats, which means that the performance of the government is not satisfactory.
Although the Nepal Communist Party and the Nepali Congress continued to dominate the elections, the smaller, regional parties managed to carve out niches for themselves. However, these parties did not manage to achieve a significant hold in the system, which, analysts say, shows that the country is increasingly heading towards a two-party system.
On the implications of the recent by-election results for the Madhes-based parties, the by-election results of the core Madhes region had heralded a message for both the parties to forge unity as soon as possible.
However, for the Janamat Party, led by Dr. CK Raut, it was a new experience. Since this was the first election for the Janamat Party, the election had offered a good opportunity for political recognition. The future of CK Raut can’t be predicted right now. Raut has joined politics giving up his well-established career, he will not abandon it. But if he does not get success in electoral politics, he could join another big party.