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Elections in Bijhan and Laharn

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Elections in Bijhan and Laharn take place at three levels: federal, constituent state, and local.

Federal elections

The federal parliament, the Kunveno, consists of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each chamber has 120 members. Seats in the Senate are equally divided between the two constituent states–60 for Bijhan and 60 for Laharn–while seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned based on population, provided neither state can be apportioned fewer than 30 seats. As of the 2018 federal election, Bijhan elected 82 members and Laharn 38.

From 1993 to 2003, elections were held on the first Saturday and Sunday of May every five years. Beginning with the 2008 election, elections have been held on the first Saturday and Sunday of April, with a delay of one week should the election conflict with Easter. There is no constitutional procedure to dissolve the Kunveno prior to the expiration of its five-year term; as such, snap elections do not occur.

Federal elections are held under a system of party list proportional representation, in which each constituent state forms a single constituency. Each party must submit a list of candidates for both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and must rank the candidates for each chamber in the order in which they are to be elected. The number of candidates on a party's list must not be fewer than 20% of the total number of vacant seats in the constituency in question (e.g., At the 2018 election, the minimum number of Senate candidates was 12 in both states. The minimum number of House candidates was 17 for Bijhanian parties and 8 for Laharnian parties.). This threshold is in place to avoid the theoretical situation of a party winning more seats than it has candidates, creating an underhang seat and altering the proportionality of the result. In practice, however, larger parties always nominate a full slate of candidates, and parties of all sizes tend to nominate far more candidates than they can expect to elect.

Party lists are closed, meaning that the voters cast a vote for a party only and cannot alter the order in which candidates are elected. Each party must, at the time of its registration, provide a unique abbreviation (of between two and four letters) and a symbol to be printed on its ballots. This requirement allows illiterate voters a way to clearly identify the party for which they wish to vote.

The seats are allocated separately in each constituent state using the D'Hondt method. A party must win at least 5% of the vote in its constituent state in order to be allocated any seats.

Gender parity

New rules entered into effect for the 2018 federal election, which were aimed at achieving gender parity in the Kunveno:

  • A party list must have at least 35% male candidates and 35% female candidates.
  • The candidates ranked #1 and #2 on each list cannot be of the same gender.
  • A list cannot have more than three successively ranked candidates of the same gender.
  • A party's top-ranked candidate for the Senate and the House of Representatives cannot be of the same gender.

The new rules had a major effect on the composition of the federal parliament. Only 32 women were elected to the 5th Kunveno (2013-2018), comprising 13.3% of the membership. The 6th Kunveno (2018-2023) saw 87 women elected, comprising 36.3% of the membership.

Elections in Bijhan

There are three types of elections in Bijhan: presidential elections, legislative elections, and local government elections. Bijhan holds fixed-term elections on the first Saturday and Sunday of November every four years, with the terms of members-elect commencing on the following January 1.

Presidential elections

The voters of Bijhan elect a President and a Vice President on the same ticket to an eight-year term. There is no limit on the number of terms a person can serve in either office.

Candidates for President and Vice President can be nominated by:

  • At least 5 members of the State Forum;
  • At least 20,000 enrolled voters, by petition;
  • At least 2 of Bijhan's 14 local government councils;
  • Themselves, in the case of an incumbent President and Vice President standing for re-election as the same ticket.

Presidential elections are held under the contingent vote system, a form of preferential voting in which voters rank candidates in the order of their preference. Beyond expressing a first preference, which is required for the vote to be considered valid, voters may indicate as many or as few preferences as they wish. If no candidate receives an absolute majority of first preference votes, then all but the two leading candidates are eliminated and there is a second count. In the second count, the votes of those who supported eliminated candidates are distributed among the two remaining candidates, so that one candidate achieves an absolute majority.


If the sitting president dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President. If the office of Vice President becomes vacant, either by death, resignation, removal from office, or succession to the Presidency, the President nominates a Vice President, who takes office immediately upon confirmation by a majority vote of both chambers of the State Forum. If both offices become vacant at the same time, the presiding officer of the State Assembly becomes President.

Legislative elections

The State Forum is Bijhan's bicameral legislature, and it is closely modeled after the United States Congress. It consists of a 30-member State Council and a 60-member State Assembly. Members of the State Council serve twelve-year terms, with one-third of them facing election every four years. By contrast, all 60 seats in the State Assembly are contested at each quadrennial election.

Like in federal elections, voters cast a single vote for a political party, which is counted toward that party's candidate lists in both the State Council and the State Assembly. The ten seats in the State Council that are filled at each election form a single statewide constituency. Of the 60 seats in the State Assembly, 46 are distributed by population among fourteen electoral districts, which correspond to Bijhan's fourteen local government districts. Each electoral district has a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 5 seats. The remaining 14 seats are compensatory seats, distributed among the parties to make their share of seats more closely reflect their share of votes. Only parties which have received at least 5% of the statewide vote may receive compensatory seats.

Local government elections

Elections in Laharn

List of elections