Democracy in Nepal

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Introduction/Background

Nepal is a developing country located in the South Asian region, landlocked and bordered with the People’s Republic of China to the north and the Republic of India in rest of the sides. Until 1990, Nepal was an absolute monarchy exercised under the executive control of the king (Acharya, ). For over 200 years, Nepal existed as a feudal monarchy that was well insulated from penetration by foreign democratic trends. A brief flirtation with democracy in 1959 culminated in a constitution that created the panchayat system of government, which shunned political parties in favor of royal paternalism. In 1990, a pro-democracy movement revived long-dormant political parties with the goal of creating a constitutional monarchy (Khadka, 1993 p. 45). Constitutional monarchy was modeled after England Nepal theoretically enjoys a parliamentary system with nearly universal suffrage and an independent judiciary. However, in 2001 after the royal massacre, King Gyanendra centralized the power; simultaneously ascribe to himself the positions of head of state, head of government, and supreme commander of the army (Khadka, 1993 p. 47). He arbitrarily granted security powers to the army, intellectuals and curtailed civil liberties. Escalating Maoist violence led the King, on November 26, 2001, to declare a state of emergency, giving him executive powers and suspending many of the basic human rights guaranteed in the Constitution.5

"Democracy" means different things to different countries, different scholars, different groups and different individuals. Robert Dhal has listed some “procedural minimal” conditional for democracy to exist (2002:11) write, These are the principles that democrats in all times and places have struggled for: •Government decisions about policy is constitutionally vested upon elected officials •All citizens have right to vote in the elections and run for elective office •Citizens have right to express their opinion regardless of...
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