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Nepal Main Page

Government and politics

 

 

 

 


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Flag of Nepal

Nepal has seen rapid political changes during the last two decades. Until 1990, Nepal was a monarchy running under the executive control of the king. Faced with a Communist movement against the absolute monarchy, King Birendra, in 1990, agreed to large-scale political reforms by creating a parliamentary monarchy with the king as the head of state and a prime minister as the head of the government. Nepal has also been noted for its recent speed of development, such as being one of the few countries in Asia to abolish the death penalty and the first country in Asia to rule in favor of same-sex marriage, which the government has a seven-person committee studying after a November 2008 ruling by the nation's Supreme Court, which ordered full rights for LGBT individuals, including the right to marry.

Nepal's legislature was bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives called the Pratinidhi Sabha and a National Council called the Rastriya Sabha. The House of Representatives consisted of 205 members directly elected by the people. The National Council had 60 members: ten nominated by the king, 35 elected by the House of Representatives, and the remaining 15 elected by an electoral college made up of chairs of villages and towns. The legislature had a five-year term but was dissolvable by the king before its term could end. All Nepali citizens 18 years and older became eligible to vote.

The executive comprised the King and the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet). The leader of the coalition or party securing the maximum seats in an election was appointed as the Prime Minister. The Cabinet was appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Governments in Nepal tended to be highly unstable, falling either through internal collapse or parliamentary dissolution by the monarch, on the recommendation of the prime minister, according to the constitution; no government has survived for more than two years since 1991.

The movement in April 2006 brought about a change in the nation's governance: an interim constitution was promulgated, with the King giving up power, and an interim House of Representatives was formed with Maoist members after the new government held peace talks with the Maoist rebels. The number of parliamentary seats was also increased to 330. In April 2007, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) joined the interim government of Nepal.

On April 10, 2008, the first election in Nepal for the constitution assembly took place. The Maoist party led the poll results but failed to gain a simple majority in the parliament.

On December 10, 2007, the interim parliament passed a bill that would make Nepal a federal republic, with the Prime Minister becoming head of state. On May 28, 2008, lawmakers in Nepal legally abolished the monarchy and declared the country a republic, ending 239 years of royal rule in the Himalayan nation. The newly elected assembly, led by the former communist rebels, adopted the resolution at its first meeting by an overwhelming majority. King Gyanendra was given 15 days to leave the former Royal Palace in central Kathmandu by the Nepalese Constituent Assembly. He left the former Royal Palace on June 11.

On June 26, 2008, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala tendered his resignation to the Nepalese Constituent Assembly, which is also functioning as the Nepalese Parliament; however, a new Prime Minister has yet to be elected by the Nepalese Constituent Assembly.

On July 19, 2008, the first round of voting for the election of the country's president and vice president took place in the Constituent Assembly. Parmanand Jha became the first vice president of Nepal. However, the two presidential frontrunners, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav of Nepali Congress and the Maoist-backed candidate Ram Raja Prasad Singh, both failed to gain the minimum 298 votes needed to be elected, with Yadav receiving 283 votes and Singh receiving 270. 578 out of 594 CA members registered in the voter list had cast their votes, of which 24 were invalid.

On July 21, 2008, the second round of voting was held. Yadav received 308 of the 590 votes cast, securing his election as president.

On August 15, 2008, Maoist leader Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal) was elected Prime Minister of Nepal, the first since the country's transition from a monarchy to a republic. On May 4, 2009, Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigned over on-going conflicts over sacking of the Army chief.

 

 
 
 
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