Nepal – the way forward

Nepal is totally soaked in the election atmosphere. The vote is seen as vital in moving the Himalayan nation towards political stability after a 10-year Maoist revolt ended in 2006.

Since the end of the civil war, the  of  country of 30 million has been without an effective government and repeatedly failed to write a new constitution.  The previous Constituent Assembly – elected in 2008 after the abolition of the monarchy – was won by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led by former guerrilla leader and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Now, Nepali voters have  resoundingly rejected the Maoist parties that once dominated the country’s politics, according to official election results released on Wednesday.  “It’s time to turn the page,” Sarita Thatal told the Baltic Review.

Officials said that more than 70% of the 12 million eligible Nepalese voters cast their ballots in the elections held on 19 November. Final results in the vote were conducted through a mixture of direct voting and proportional representation. Political parties are now expected to draft a new constitution within a year.

Suraj BajracharyaThe centrist Nepali Congress party won the most votes and bagged 91 seats under the proportional representation system. The Maoists – who formed the single largest party in the previous Constituent Assembly – have been relegated to third place. They are demanding to investigate electoral fraud forming an independent panel.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Neel Kanth Uprety has argued that the second Constituent Assembly election was held in an unprecedentedly peaceful and well organized atmosphere.

The Nepali people endured a civil war which lasted from 1996 until 2006. Nepal’s decade-long civil war between Maoist rebels and the state ended with a UN-brokered peace agreement. A nationwide task force launched when the war ended in 2006 to investigate and record casualties uncovered more than 16,000 deaths and found that 70,425 people were displaced by the conflict, although most have now been able to return home.

Since the end of the conflict the country has seen tumultuous change; the 240-year-old monarchy has been abolished and Nepal declared a secular state. The country has made vital progress toward supporting civil society, promoting the participation of women and youth, and becoming a pluralistic democracy.

Bibbi Abruzzini
Bibbi Abruzzini is a foreign correspondent for the BALTIC REVIEW and international news agencies in South Asia. She is Italian, grew up in Brussels and has reported from several countries, including Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, Nepal, Tunisia,Turkey and the US – writing largely about social and development issues.