Voters seem to go for status quo in Nepal by-elections: Analysts

Khabarhub

December 2, 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Voters seem to go for status quo in Nepal by-elections: Analysts
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KATHMANDU: With the formal declaration of the by-election result of all 52 seats, analysts say the election result has turned out to go for ‘status quo’.

In the election held for 52 various posts in 37 districts, the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has bagged victory in most places safeguarding its first position while the main opposition the Nepali Congress (NC), despite seizing some left vote banks on its side, has still come to console itself with the second position.

NCP candidates have managed to cash 30 posts including the only HoR post of Kaski-2. Nepali Congress has bagged 13 posts including the Province representative of Bhaktapur and Mayor of Dharan Sub-metropolitan City.

Nepali Congress has managed to impress the voters of Bhaktapur Province 1 ‘B’ and Dharan Sub-metropolitan City and break those left ‘pockets.’ Similarly, Nepal Communist Party has succeeded in getting the favor of some rural municipalities Nepali Congress had pocketed before.

What do the analysts say?

Analyzed on the basis of the seat numbers of the previous election, both the ruling Nepal Communist Party and main opposition Nepali Congress have neither lost much nor got the favor. The voters don’t seem to show sympathy towards the small and regional parties as well.

Thus, the election result has turned out to go for the ‘status quo’ as analysts remark.

Had the ruling party not lost some of its ‘pockets’, it could have claimed that the voters not only trusted them but also encouraged them to go ahead; similarly if the main opposition party had managed to get most of the posts gone for by-election, it could have reiterated that people were against the incumbent government and communist rule as a whole.

However, the people neither showed their dissatisfaction against the government nor seemed to have trusted on the awareness and the ‘promises’ of the main opposition; in most of the cases they just reacted at the local level.

Prof. Krishna Pokharel, a political analyst and the person who has witnessed most of the remarkable changes of Nepal and gone through the political history and trend of the world also agrees with the analysis.

“The voters showed that they were not much impressed with the policy and programs the two-third majority government has been boasting about,” said Prof. Pokharel while talking to Khabarhub and added that the  “opposition party’s claim that people were fed up with the government and the government has lost the trust and faith of the public is not ratified either.”

He remarked that more than the national agenda, local agenda got priority of the voters this time.

Citing that some of the places formerly claimed as Nepali Congress pockets have gone to Nepal Communist Party and some of the places regarded as ‘left pockets’ are won by Nepali Congress, he opined, “The people have neither trusted the opposition nor have they gone for the government claims.”

Although Nepali Congress has got victory in Dharan Sub-metropolitan city formerly hailed as ‘left’ pocket, Prof. Pokharel opines it does not prove the voters’ trust for Nepali Congress as the main opposition party, rather he thinks it as related with local issues.

“Dharan’s result shows that the voters gave their priority to the local agenda rather than the national agenda,” Khanal concluded.

Similarly, another political analyst, Lok Raj Baral says despite the unification of the ruling party, it has not got much public favor.

“The voters did not encourage either of the major political parties in this election,” said Prof. Baral.

Analyzing the trend, he said, “The left tides seem to be receding, but the opposition has to strive further to form the government in next term.”

He regards Nepali Congress’ victory in Bhaktapur and Dharan as a symbolic lesson to the ruling party.

Prof. Baral interprets Nepal Communist Party’s victory in Kaski as the victory based on sympathy votes. He thinks the by-election result should not be regarded as the national mandate.

Prof. Krishna Hachhethu, another political analyst also opines that the by-election result does not matter much politically.

He thinks it immature to predict the political trend on the basis of the by-election result.

“This election and the result do not reflect the national trend,” Hachhethu said.

Another political analyst Prof. Ganga Thapa comes with the view that the election result has validated the government and showed that contrary to the opposition’s claim the popularity is not down yet.

He also blames the main opposition for the result and says that the government got a chance to take advantage of the opposition party’s inability to handle politics.

According to him, the political parties claiming as the rising alternates to the establishment also failed to get people’s trust and mandate.

“The traditional powers got voters’ favor again,” talking to Khabarhub, Thapa added, “The people did not consent with the new and small parties claiming the political alternates.”

He concluded his analysis saying that the people seem to have chosen the two-party system.

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