Nepal just conducted its first legislative election since 1999 and the end of the then-brewing Maoist rebellion and ensuing civil war.
After a tumultuous post-war decade, 2015 saw the implementation of sweeping reforms in Nepal, in the form of a new constitution and a new federal system. One such reform was the implementation of a new election system which combines elements of proportional representation, first past the post and single transferable vote (also known as STV or multi-winner ranked choice voting) in the country’s newly bicameral parliament.
Nepal’s upper house will now be elected via the single transferable vote through an electoral college, which is similar to how STV works in neighboring India and Pakistan, while the lower house will be elected via a parallel system combining first past the post and party list voting. STV has been on the country’s policy radar for quite some time, and has been the subject of fierce debate as recently as December.
Single transferable vote systems are widely praised by election experts for their ability to make a legislative body more fairly representative of its electors, and the new system has been reported as such in the Nepali press. The use of STV in particular has been credited with bringing stability and cooperation to fiercely divided nations. Nonetheless, the country’s new constitution is not entirely representative and poses diplomatic challenges with its neighbor India—so while progress has been made, there is most definitely more work to be done.
For more information on multi-winner ranked choice voting, and FairVote’s proposals for more equitable U.S. elections, visit our pages on multi-winner ranked choice voting and the Fair Representation Act.