Local Election in Nepal: Means for Ensuring Electoral Accountability

Dr. Narendra Raj Paudel

The electoral accountability is considered a mechanism through which voters hold the government responsible for their performance. The voter’s ability to hold governments to account is greatly influenced by the contingent characteristics of the political context. Government clarity of responsibility, existence of available alternatives, the influence of electoral system, pluralistic mass media may contribute to the functioning mechanism of accountability, ensuring information about the political acts promoted by the incumbent and the possibility for voters to identify and potentially to sanction it. In the absence of competitive environment for politics would be fatal and other institutional environment would also inhibit electoral accountability.
Major political upheaval took place in Nepal since 1990. Political upheaval could lead to change. Since 1990, three local elections were held in 1992, 1997 and 2017. Local government remains vacuum for 20 years after second local election because of Maoist insurgency and people’s movement-II (2006). The past experiences of local government reveals that local political leaders explain very good activities in their manifesto but they fail to act accordingly when they are in power. There is gap between prescriptions in their manifesto and observations in reality. As per new constitution formulated in 2015 through constituent assembly, the local government is formed through local election in 2017. In this background, it is interesting to explore to what extent local governments are accountable towards general public. Whether local government would able to deliver their performance according to their election manifesto or not? What kinds of reform strategies they adopted for the sake of ensuring electoral accountability? Also what kind of barrier they faced to implement their manifesto?
For the sake of answering above questions, 15 local governments out of 753 local governments- eight highest scorer and seven lowest scorers on the basis of Minimum Condition Performance Measurement (MCPM) index developed by Ministry of Local Development are chosen purposively. 744 respondents who come to get service from local government are selected using systematic random sampling methods for structured interview. Likewise 30 Mayors and Dy-mayors are interviewed in-depth to measure electorate accountability.