Nepal votes

News in Brief

Every issue, PN checks in on the Nepali peace process, which has been staggering on since the end of the 10-year civil war (1996–2006). One major turning point was the passing of a new constitution in 2015 that redrew provincial boundaries largely on the basis of ethnicity, and delegated powers to lower levels of government.

Those lower levels have for years been appointed from the centre as no elections have been held for 20 years. Finally, this year, local elections are being held for chairs/mayors and members of local councils, known as ‘wards’. Half of all ward members must be women, by law.

Three provinces voted in May, three in June, and the final province vote has been delayed to 18 September as the government seeks to persuade parties in the low-lying Madhes that they should take part.

The military was deployed on 28 June because of a risk of disruption. There have been a handful of bombings during the election period; no one has been killed to date.

So far, the big winner has been the misnamed, politically-centrist, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), known as the UML. Neither the UML nor the nearly-as-centrist Maoist-Centre party carried out land reform during their periods in government.

So far in the local elections, the UML has 261 chairs and deputy chairs, the Nepali Congress has 188, and the Maoist-Centre has 95. There’s a similar party breakdown for ward members (councillors).

Topics: Nepal