News / Asia

    Hope Amid Frustration as Nepalis Head to Polls

    Hope Amid Frustration as Nepal Heads to Pollsi
    X
    November 18, 2013 8:12 PM
    As Nepalis head to the polls on Tuesday to elect members of a new Constituent Assembly, many are left to wonder whether the vote will end years of political paralysis that has hurt the Himalayan country’s already lagging economy. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from Kathmandu, where some say the election might be Nepal’s last chance at stability.
    Hope Amid Frustration as Nepal Heads to Polls
    Aru Pande
    As Nepalis head to the polls on Tuesday to elect members of a new Constituent Assembly, many are left to wonder whether the vote will end years of political paralysis that has hurt the Himalayan country’s already lagging economy.  And there is concern that the election may be Nepal’s last chance at stability.
     
    Monday is no different from many others in Nepal, as political parties opposed to the election have called yet another general strike.

    Owner Vikal Shreshta opens cyber cafe despite strike, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)Owner Vikal Shreshta opens cyber cafe despite strike, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)
    x
    Owner Vikal Shreshta opens cyber cafe despite strike, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)
    Owner Vikal Shreshta opens cyber cafe despite strike, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)
    Still, Vikal Shrestha chose to open his cyber café in the heart of the capital, saying he cannot afford to keep his doors closed just because Nepal’s leaders are unable to reach a consensus.
     
    “Due to political problems, people are doing a lot of strikes and bandhs [shutdowns], so normal people are not happy with that," Shrestha said. "It must be stopped.”
     
    Steps away from Shreshta’s café, some of the more than 12 million eligible voters are picking up their election ID cards as they prepare to cast their ballots for 240 contested seats in the 601-member Constituent Assembly. They have been through this process before in 2008, when the parliamentary body was first formed.
     
    Nepal has seen tremendous change in the last decade: the end of a civil war, the abolishment of the monarchy, and former Maoist rebels joining the government.  But despite several attempts, this now democratic republic has yet to draft a constitution and move forward.
     
    Gagan Thapa is a former lawmaker with the Nepal Congress, one of four main parties that were unable to agree on a draft constitution and a structure of government, leading to dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in 2012 and the establishment of an interim government.
     
    “I believe this is the last opportunity for the political parties that were part of the peace process," Thapa said. "This time, if we are able to make a constitution within the timeframe of one year then that will be a foundation for us to move ahead, but if we fail, then the whole course [of the peace process] will collapse.”
     
    Many Nepalis are disillusioned after having high expectations for change when the former rebel Maoists won the most seats in the Constituent Assembly five years ago, said former Maoist leader and analyst Mumaram Khana.
     
    Instead of progress, many have seen increased corruption in a country that ranks 157 out of 186 in the United Nations Human Development Index.

    "It is not that Nepalis expected much, but they thought that a new constitution will bring stability and lead the country to economic development," Khanal said.
     
    Shopkeeper Saroj Khanal gets ready for customers, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)Shopkeeper Saroj Khanal gets ready for customers, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)
    x
    Shopkeeper Saroj Khanal gets ready for customers, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)
    Shopkeeper Saroj Khanal gets ready for customers, Kathmandu, Nov. 17, 2013. (Aru Pande/VOA)
    Still, some Nepalis, like shopkeeper Saroj Khanal, are not giving up hope. He said like any new democracy, it will take some time for the former Himalayan kingdom to chart its political future.

    "Definitely change will happen because Maoists have joined the democratic process, formed a government and taken some good steps," he said.
     
    Sandwiched between Asian economic giants India and China, many here say Nepal has already lost too much to the political turmoil and can only benefit if and when stability is once again established.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    update Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora