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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora