Nepal: suffering politically and economically

By Rajan Koirala

After a decade-long agitation by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), several weeks of mass protests by major political parties and demands of the general public, the Nepalese monarchy was overthrown, establishing the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on May 28, 2008. In a decade and half, millions of Nepalese lost their lives in the fight to overthrow the monarchy. What did the Nepalese gain after the declaration of the FDRN and what did they lose?

After the establishment of the new government, Ram Baran Yadav was elected as the first President, and was sworn in on 23 July 2008. The late Girija Prasad Koirala was chosen as the interim Prime Minister to serve until a general election could be held to choose the next Prime Minister. After winning a majority of votes in the general election, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) designated its party president, Puspa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), as the first elected Prime Minister of Nepal on Aug. 18, 2008.

After President Yadav reinstated Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Rookmangat Katwal who had been sacked by Dahal’s government, Dahal resigned from his post on May 4, 2009. Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) was elected the next Prime Minister after a long process in the election in May 2009. His government was widely criticized for economic crisis, political instability and corruption but he denied the allegations and ruled the nation for over a year. He resigned on June 30, 2010 under pressure from different parties and organizations.

During the two months after Nepal resigned from his post, seven elections in the Constituent Assembly couldn’t elect another Prime Minister. The eighth election, held on Sept. 26, 2010, to elect the fourth Prime Minister also couldn't confirm any candidates for the position. The former Prime Minister Prachanda quit the race before the election, after his seventh unsuccessful attempt.

Puspa Kamal Dahal, the president of Maoist Party, is again running for Prime Minister for the second time. Ram Chandra Poudel, senior leader of the Nepali Congress Party is his opponent.

Nepal, a developing Himalayan country, also known as the country of Mt. Everest and the birthplace of Buddha, has seen its worst economic condition in recent years. The hope the public had that removing the monarchy would bring an improvement in the conditions in the country are being diminished everyday. Unemployment is approaching half of the working-age population. The youth population is decreasing every year as they seek jobs in Gulf countries or neighboring India. They are also migrating to countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and many other countries around the globe for study and personal security.

Two-thirds of female adults and one-third of male adults in Nepal are illiterate. One-third of the population is below the poverty line and because of the ongoing political instability, foreign investors resisting investment in the country's hydropower which has a potential capacity of 42,000 MW. The public doesn’t have proper drinking water facilities even though Nepal is known as the second richest country in water resources after Brazil.

On the other hand, Nepal is preparing for “Visit Nepal 2011” to attract tourists from all over the world. However, the Tourism Board is not doing sufficient advertising because of a low budget. The government is not providing funds to adequately prepare for the program. In fact, the nation might lose what dignity and pride it has because of the poor preparations.

Without a good government, a nation cannot progress, but Nepal is even worse off because it doesn’t have a government at all. Eight elections in a row couldn’t declare a Prime Minister. If it continues, Nepal in less than a decade, will be like Ethiopia and Somalia economically, socially and politically.

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