International

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Nepalese Elections to End 239-Year-Old Monarchy

April 12, 2008 12:30 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Although the Nepal election results have yet to be completely tallied, the Maoists are doing much better than expected and taking many votes away from the Communist Party of Nepal.

30-Second Summary

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The people of Nepal voted Thursday in the first national election in nine years, in what is sure to end the 239-year-old monarchy.

The weeks leading up to the election were filled with violence, and the Maoists were considered to be the main perpetrators. The Maoists had said that “anything less than a sweeping victory for their party would be evidence of massive rigging,” and this is unlikely considering the Maoists are not well liked, according to The Economist.

In 33 polling places, the voting was postponed because Maoists prevented the balloting, and two people, including an independent candidate, were killed on Thursday. Eight people were killed in the two days leading up to the election, reports the Associated Press. But in general, the election went much smoothly than many had thought.

About 60 percent of Nepal’s 17.6 million voters were able to cast a vote in the country’s elections yesterday. The Nepal Congress and left-wing Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) were predicted to finish ahead of the Maoists.

The results of the election are likely to inspire more tension, however, as the future of the structure of the government is hotly debated.

Nepal had been embroiled in a bloody civil war since 1996, when the Maoists, opposed to the constitutional monarchy, attempted to form a one-party communist republic. The war resulted in more than 12,000 deaths, and close to 100,000 displaced persons.

In December 2007 the Maoists and the ruling Parliamentary alliance decided that the monarchy would be terminated after the 2008 elections.

Today, the country that boasts one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, Mount Everest, ranks as one of the poorest nations.

Headline Links: Nepalese people vote in droves, Maoists fare better than expected

Background: The parties and women voters

Historical Context: Nepal and the civil war

Opinion & Analysis: “Nepal’s Perilous Ascent”

Related Links: “Bhutan Votes in First-Ever National Election”

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