Hung Parliament of the UK and what Nepal can learn

The 2017 general election in the UK, held prior to the normal time has not produced the result the incumbent prime minister, Theresa May, had aimed for. Rather, in the country that gave birth to Parliamentary system of governance, something that drags the system – hung parliament – is going to happen after the results were not as strong to ensure one party (Conservative led by May or the opposition Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn), with a strong mandate to negotiate the EU deal likely to be dealt a blow. While not a feature of first-past-the-post elections, hung parliament can be found in this system as well.

8 seats short of a majority, government of the UK will likely see a change. It is likely that Theresa May will not be the person leading the negotiations; after all, she will face music internally from the Conservatives (Tories) as well having weakened the party, with 12 seats lost on aggregate. Interestingly, it is the same number of lost seats that were needed for a majority.

It is another matter for discussion about the turnover rate: 69% with the PA writing how that is the highest rate since the 1997 general election. It was around 71% in the 3 provinces of Nepal in the election of 14 May. This shows the enthusiasm of Nepali people in choosing their representatives has not been dampened by the political development at national level.

The hung parliament and how proceedings take place, on internal matters as well as external matters, with the latter being of more importance for a country that recently ceded itself from the EU and is trying to proclaim its position of its heydays, what we in Nepal learn is how the day-to-day dealings take place in the parliament itself. Going by the way Nepal sees a hung parliament, more so in recent times due to the Proportional Representation system being embraced, we can learn more from countries other than just our southern neighbor regarding the practice of democracy. (This is not to excuse all the promises our leaders make of making Nepal into Switzerland and Singapore). It has to be observed closely how the cabinet is formed in the UK now.

We can learn how balance of power works there. And how ideological differences are sorted out in the parliament. While our leaders may also talk about Nepali model of democracy, with its unique blend of culture, what should be understood is that good practices can be borrowed from anywhere, more so if the country is the progenitor of parliamentary democracy.


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