Loading Events

« All Events

Event Series Event Series: Asia in Review Election Monitor 2024

Political Dynamics in Nepal – Actors, Challenges, and Prospects

July 17 from 15:00 - 16:30 BMT

Asia in Review Event Series on Elections in 2024

July 17, 2024, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (GMT+7), online via Zoom video teleconferencing

organized in collaboration with Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement, and Asian Governance Foundation 

Description

Nepal, a Himalayan nation of 30 million people nestled between Asian powerhouses and geopolitical adversaries India and China, has entered another phase of political uncertainty: On July 3, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML), the second-largest party in Parliament’s lower house, withdrew from the ruling coalition led by Nepal´s other major communist party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). The CPN-UML announced plans to join forces with the Nepali Congress, the main opposition and the largest party in the House of Representatives, to form a new “national consensus government.” 

As a result, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal — a former key leader of the Maoist insurgency that fought a decade-long civil war against the government from 1996 to 2006 — will face a vote of confidence on July 12, which will likely result in the premature end of his tenure. At present, Dahal’s Maoist Centre controls only 32 seats, whereas an alliance of Nepali Congress and CPN-UML has a combined strength of 167, well over the required majority of 138 seats in the 275-member House. 

Leading up to this point, Dahal had already faced four votes of confidence since becoming prime minister in December 2022 following an inconclusive election where his party finished as a distanced third – after the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. Since then, Dahal switched sides three times between the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML: He initially ditched the Nepali Congress in December 2022 to join hands with the CPN-UML, then in February 2023, he allied with the Nepali Congress, and just four months ago, he ended the coalition with the Nepali Congress to rejoin the CPN-UML. This last decision was seen as a potential revival of the “Left Alliance,” established by the Maoist Centre and the CPN-UML ahead of the 2017 general elections, which began to unravel three years later due to internal disagreements and power struggles between Dahal and CPN-UML leader KP Sharma Oli. Despite predictions that the bitter memories of that period would prevent them from joining forces again, Oli and Dahal have aligned twice since then. 

 

The current situation is emblematic of Nepal, where political stability has remained elusive since the centuries-old monarchy was abolished in 2008, and the nation was turned into a republic. In the years that followed, Nepal witnessed more than two dozen governments, with the three main political parties — the CPN-UML, the Maoist Centre, and the Nepali Congress — and their respective leaders – Oli, Dahal, and Sher Bahadur Deuba – monopolizing politics and forming various brittle coalitions. These leaders, the “Big Three,” personally handle all serious matters, sporadically divulging proceedings through “sources.” This practice has sparked increasing criticism for protecting corrupt individuals, promoting nepotism, favoritism, and “bhagbanda” – the political practice of distributing power, positions, and perks among political parties or factions based on mutual agreements and self-serving calculations rather than merit or democratic principles. 

Amid shaky and compromised party politics, Nepal has witnessed large-scale scams whose legal outcomes often seem contingent on one of the “Big Three” political parties. It is widely believed that the decision of the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML to oust the Dahal-led government is aimed at pre-empting corruption cases related to recent scandals involving top leaders of the two parties. Furthermore, crucial legislative efforts, such as amending the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, and the devolution of power from the federal to provincial and local levels, have progressed slowly due to political and procedural challenges. 

At the same time, there seems to be a gradual but significant transformation underway, as other political parties and candidates, like Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah, prepare for the next parliamentary election in 2027. Meanwhile, internationally educated parliamentarians like Sumana Shrestha from the Rastriya Swatantra Party are gaining a substantial following by daring to address previously “unacceptable” questions in parliament. 

Against this backdrop, this webinar will bring together experts to analyze the current political dynamics unfolding in Nepal and to evaluate the prospects for sustainable governance.

Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Dr. Pramod Jaiswal is the Research Director at the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement, specializing in South Asian geopolitics, insurgencies, border management, terrorism, illegal migration, radicalism, and ethnic conflicts. He has taught at universities in Nepal (Tribhuvan, Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Army Command and Staff College) and China (China Foreign Affairs University, Fudan, Tongji, and Qinghai University of Nationalities). 

Dr Jaiswal is a Visiting Fellow at Sandia National Laboratories in the US, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi, and a researcher at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He has worked with the Manohar Parikkar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and as a correspondent for the Rising Nepal. 

He is on the editorial board of the Journal of International Affairs in Kathmandu, the academic committee at the Pangoal Institution in Beijing, and the international advisory committee of the Journal of Liberty and International Affairs in Macedonia. Additionally, he is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Security and International Studies and a member of the subject committee of International Relations and Diplomacy at Tribhuvan University. 

Dr Jaiswal holds a Master’s, M.Phil, and PhD from the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and has received the Silver Jubilee Scholarship and SAARC Doctoral Fellowship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. He has authored, edited, and co-edited numerous books on China and South Asia affairs.

Mr. Jay Nishaant is a Distinguished Fellow at the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA) and the former Executive President of the Nepal Democracy Foundation (NDF), a leading think tank and NGO focused on democracy, diplomacy, governance, and development. With over 15 years of experience as an international development professional, democracy practitioner, political analyst, broadcaster, and university lecturer, Jay has a notable background. 

He is a Draper Hill Fellow at Stanford University and has held leadership positions at esteemed international organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Additionally, Jay is a prominent media personality, having produced several television programs and documentaries, and hosted political and current affairs talk shows on Nepal’s leading channel, Kantipur Television. 

Jay also writes op-ed columns on current affairs, politics, international relations, and development issues. When time permits, he teaches International Business and Business Environment Analysis to MBA and EMBA students.

Moderator

Lucas Meier, Senior Program Officer & Asia in Review South Asia Regional Editor, CPG

Agenda

Participations

Event registration is essential for participation; individuals interested are encouraged to do so by visiting the link or QR code provided below. For more information, please email us at events@cpg-online.de

⇒ Registration ⇐

Contact Information

Contact Mr. Lucas Meier at lucas.meier@cpg-online.de for program content.

Contact Ms. Venus Phuangkom at events@cpg-online.de for administrative matters.

Details

Date:
July 17
Time:
15:00 - 16:30 BMT
Series:
Event Category:

Other

Event Type
Panel Discussion / Roundtable
Location
Online
Registration
Required