News / Asia

Once Dominant Maoists Routed in Nepal Election

A Nepalese voter casts his vote at a polling station in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.
A Nepalese voter casts his vote at a polling station in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.
Aru Pande
Nepalis have spoken with their ballots; voters have responded to years of political turmoil by casting out former Maoist rebels who swept into power five years ago when the Himalayan nation abolished its monarchy and became a democratic republic.
 
Voters had plenty of reasons to be disenchanted by the political process in a country that has undergone tremendous change in less than a decade. Nepal has seen six different governments since 2008, none of which was able to deliver a constitution.
 
Still, Nepalis defied skeptics; voter turnout reached at least 70-percent for the November 19 vote to elect the 601-member Constituent Assembly. The parliamentary body was dissolved last year and an interim government installed after political parties missed yet another deadline to draft a constitution and debated whether to divide Nepal into federal states along ethnic lines or geographic ones.
 
This gridlock was not what people in Nepal expected when they voted the former Maoist rebels into power in 2008. The former insurgents had agreed to lay down their arms, end a 10-year civil war and join the government as part of a peace process forged just two years earlier.
 
However, in a sign of voters' dissatisfaction with the Maoists, the Unified Communist Party (Maoists) of Nepal that won the most seats in the Constituent Assembly in 2008 came in third place, winning just 26 of 240 directly elected seats. Nepal’s oldest political party, Nepali Congress, won 105 seats, and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) came in second with 91.
 
Kathmandu Post Editor-in-Chief Akhilesh Upadhyay said voters sent a strong message at the polls.
 
“The backlash against the Maoists was very strong on the ground for not having been able to deliver the most important aspect of the peace process: the constitution. And as the largest party that was not in existence after the 2008 elections, the voters seemed to have particularly vented ire on their failure,” said Upadhyay.
 
The Maoists, led by former Prime Minister Prachanda, who goes by one name, have reacted by alleging fraud and other irregularities during the election process. However, local and international observers say the vote was conducted fairly.
 
Upadhyay thinks it is now time for Nepal to get past a “difficult period in its history.” He notes that while the former Himalayan kingdom has languished during its political transition, other South Asian nations, including neighbors India and China, are economically thriving.
 
 “We have to absolutely move on, get on with our constitution-making, make peace between parties. People are just tired of all these things that have dragged on for years. It continues to hit their daily lives. Businesses have suffered. We have had a lot of closures, political shutdowns. We could do away with all of this,” said Upadhyay.
 
Saroj G.C., a 28-year old Nepali teacher, said that he and other voters have given lawmakers another chance at establishing stability in this new democratic republic.
 
“We haven’t grown up in terms of [establishing an] economic foundation, so my message to political leaders, bring sizable development that can sustain the political change,” said Saroj.
 
For now, Nepalis are awaiting the final make-up of the Constituent Assembly to determine who will lead the nation of 27 million people. Aside from the 240 directly elected members, 335 seats will be allotted based on the number of votes each political party gets while the cabinet nominates the remaining 26 members.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid