Nepal Current Affairs

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Sher Bahadur Deuba elected as 40th Prime Minister of Nepal

Sher Bahadur Deuba,70, has been elected as Nepal’s Prime Minister for the fourth time. He was the only candidate who contested in the election as the main opposition party UML decided to end the obstruction of parliament and did not register its candidates for the election. Deuba managed to secure 388 votes in the 593 strong Parliament in order to prove his majority.

Deuba has served as Nepal’s prime minister for three terms from 1995 to 1997, from 2001 to 2002, and from 2004 to 2005. In 2005, during his third term he was sacked by the then King Gyanendra Shah in 2005 over his failure to hold elections and bring Maoist rebels to negotiations.

The responsibility of conducting the local elections in the remaining four provinces will rest upon him.

Background

Sher Bahadur Deuba has become the 40th Prime Minister of Nepal. Last month, Maoist leader Prachanda Kamal Dahal resigned under a power sharing deal with the Nepali Congress leader.

The CPN-UML decided to end the obstruction of parliament after the ruling parties agreed to hold local elections in the remaining provinces on June 28 as well as the provincial and parliamentary elections by January, 2018.

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Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ Resigns

Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has resigned from his post. He was elected as the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal. Prachanda has stepped down honouring a power sharing agreement entered by him with the ruling partner Nepali Congress on August 3, 2016. As per the agreement, Dahal, who is the Chairman of CPN (Maoist Centre) was to have a brief stint of 9 months and will be succeeded by Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba. It was agreed that the government will be run on a rotational basis until elections to Parliament are held in February 2018.

Sher Bahadur Deuba is expected to assume the office by next week. In his tenure, he will oversee the remaining two elections — provincial and central which are to be conducted by January 2018.

Prachanda’s tenure has helped to ease the hostile relationship between the Government of Nepal and Madhesis. Both Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba are committed to amend the constitution to accommodate the aspirations of Madhesi people who have been protesting since 2015 against those constitutional provisions that excludes them from the power structure.

Background

First local level polls were held in Nepal on May 14 which is a first in two decades. After 1997, local level elections could not be held in Nepal due to the decade-long Maoist insurgency and ensuing political instability.  Nepal has seen around 25 prime ministers in the last 25 years.

Nepal is also recovering from the devastating earthquake which killed over 9,000 people. In addition, it is also plagued by the protests of the minority ethnic Madhesis who demand amendment of the Nepali Constitution.

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Madhesi Parties in Nepal unite to form a new united Political Party

Five prominent Madhesi parties in Nepal have united to form a new united party named the Rastriya Janata Party, which will be the fifth largest party in Nepal’s Parliament. Interestingly the word “Madhes” has not been included in the new party’s name. This announcement of unification has come ahead of elections to local government bodies scheduled on May 14.

The five parties that have united are Mahantha Thakur‘s Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Rajendra Mahato‘s Sadbhawana Party, Sharat Singh Bhandari‘s Rastriya Madhes Samajbadi Party, Mahendra Yadav‘s Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party and Rajkishor Yadav‘s Madhesi Janadhikar Forum- Ganatantrik.

It has been announced that leaders of the five parties will lead the Rastriya Janata Party by rotation. The new party will continue to push for addressing the demands and grievances of Madhesis including amendment of the Constitution.   The new party has warned the Nepal government that they would disrupt the upcoming elections to local bodies if their demands, including proportional representation in Parliament are not met.

Background

Madhesis account for 50% of Population of Nepal. The Madhesi parties are claiming to represent the interests of the people of the southern Terai region who are mostly of Indian origin. Madhesi parties demand that the Constitution promulgated in 2015 should be revised and the provisions with respect to citizenship should be amended and demarcation of the provincial boundary should be carried out. As per the provisions, most of the key constitutional posts have been reserved for only citizens by descent. Madhesi parties object to this criterion as huge numbers of Madhesis have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalization. This criteria makes them ineligible to hold the office of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of National Assembly etc.

Madhesis want representation in terms of proportion. The Nepali constitution has given equal representation on the basis of “geographical area”, while the Madhesis demanded that the constitution should ensure their representation as per their “population” size. The government of Nepal has rejected this demand by stating that if population were to be sole criteria for inclusion, some minority groups such as Dolpa would never get represented.

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