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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid