The recent holding of the first phase of local elections in Nepal and the imminent holding of the second round on June 14th are a positive sign and an important landmark in the democratic transition of the country. Nearly 50,000 candidates stood for 13,556 positions as mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairman and ward member in 283 local municipalities.
Since the stablishing of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, after the 1996-2006 Maoist insurgency and the overthrow of the Nepalese monarchy, constant issues have happened trying to ensure a peaceful transition that promotes greater inclusion of the country’s different identity groups. In this context, the elections are seen as the engagement between different parties and the electorate.
The frequent changes in government in recent years have been detrimental to the country’s development and economic growth. Political uncertainty has made foreign investors reluctant to get involved in the area, and domestic industries have suffered the consequences of the lack of funds, deteriorating even more the situation of the most disadvantaged people.
Inclusion in the country is strongly linked to social justice and identity, and both issues greatly affect the complex Nepalese ethnic mosaic. On top of it, inclusion is linked to demands for federalism.
Local governments have an important role in the participation of all identity groups and sections of society by creating a sense of belonging. This idea was already highlighted by the Shared Societies Project in its publication on Local Government and Shared Societies.
Although vote counting results are still trickling in, the Kathmandu Post reports that the CPN-UML is leading the nationwide vote count, followed by the Nepali Congress, with the CPN-Maoist Centre in third place. The final results will be revealed in the next few days and the second round of local polls will be held in the four remaining southern provinces on June 14th. The outcome of this election will be crucial in determining the future direction of democratic Nepal.
In this context, the Club de Madrid’s Shared Societies Project (SSP) strives to aid Nepal’s quest for inclusion by engaging with local partners to work towards the incorporation of all voices in the democratic transition of the country.
For a more detailed account of the provisional election results, click here.