2022 Nepalese Federal and Provincial Elections: Achieving Maturity
The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) said the 20 November 2022 Nepalese Federal and Provincial Assembly Elections were largely peaceful and orderly but significant inclusion of women and other vulnerable sectors could be improved.
ANFREL said in the final comprehensive report of their international election observation mission to the 2022 Nepalese polls that the voting process was smooth with polling officials performing their duties with professionalism. The counting process was also considered transparent and inclusive.
The report, however, noted that significant barriers to full inclusion of women remain despite constitutional guarantees for participation due to patriarchal cultural norms and voting based on ethnic and caste lines.
Overall, while barely passing the quota under the law of 33%, only 33.09% of House of Representative seats while 36.36 Provincial Assembly seats were won by women. The percentage of seats won through the first-past-the-post system and through the proportional representation system is also glaringly disproportionate.
Some measures to facilitate better participation and protection of other vulnerable sectors such as members of the LGBTQI+ community, persons with disabilities, and the youth, among others, were in place but could also be improved.
ANFREL also noted that voter education remains a challenge in the 2022 polls with voters knowing how to cast their ballots but are not fully aware of the process. The voter turnout was also significantly lower compared to previous elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the disappointment and lack of interest of the electorate in politics who see politicians as corrupt.
The campaign period was also observed to be peaceful and participatory with the shorter campaign period contributing to the politicians spending with moderation. Misinformation, however, remained very widespread despite efforts to curb the proliferation of information disorder.
Based on the observations of the team of observers deployed during the elections, ANFREL shared these key recommendations to improve the conduct of elections in Nepal:
- Pass a law enabling out-of-country voting to allow migrant workers to vote abroad
-Study the passage of a law for out-of-constituency voting within the country
-Provide a less intimidating environment and reconsider firearms inside polling precincts on Election Day
-Consider allowing use of phones and cameras during counting to boost transparency and trust in the process as long as they do not disrupt the work of election officials or affect the secrecy of the ballots
-Ensure election officers are instructed with guidelines and made aware of the importance of election observers
Read the full report here: "2022 Nepalese Federal and Provincial Elections: Achieving Maturity"ANFREL_2022-Nepal-Elections-20230210-01