[In this report for the interesting blog Winter Has Its End, the writers describe the current situation in Nepal as a very contradictory and eery calm of frustration and anticipation. It relates the unsure optimism of grassroots activists that this could be the calm before a revolutionary storm–or a dreadful counter-revolutionary coup. There is tension in the air, and if the calm will be broken anytime soon, it is not clear what initiative (and by whom) will break things open. — Frontlines ed.]
Photo credit: Eric Ribellarsi
By Jim Weill and Eric Ribellarsi
We have arrived in Nepal, the center of a radical Maoist revolution. We stood here last year, when half a million Nepalis declared their hope and determination to make a revolution. There has been a double stalemate since then, both in the constituional assembly and within the Maoist party. Every aspect of political life is marked by the need to break out, push aside roadblocks, and take a leap.
This time, our journey begins during the heart of the monsoon rains. Every night, dark clouds roll in and shower the city, mopping up Kathmandu’s thick, throat-burning pollution. When the morning comes, the clouds are gone just as quickly as they came. These rains muddy the streets and green the sharply rising hills that surround the city. Continue reading
[The crisis of failed coalition promises and constitutional expectations of the UCPN(Maoist) continues to deepen in Nepal. This article also indicates some UN movement toward abandoning its mission in Nepal.–ed.]
Sep 7, 2010
KATHMANDU: Reeling under the double whammy of bribery allegations and a lawmaker receiving life term for murder, Nepal’s Maoist party lost Tuesday’s prime ministerial election, for the seventh time in a row, plunging the country into a deeper political crisis.
Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who had led a successful 10-year war against the monarchist government and won the prime ministership with a thumping majority just two years ago, could muster only 252 votes for the same post Tuesday.
He fell far short of the halfway mark of 300 in the currently 599-member parliament, despite speculation that he would this time be able to break into the Terai vote bank. While 110 MPs voted against him, 159 MPs continued to abstain, leading to his staggering seventh defeat.
Since the fall of his eight-month government last year and the growing controversies about his party, the former revolutionary has failed to recapture his victory over his challenger, former deputy prime minister Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress — a failure that the Maoists blame on “Indian intervention”. Continue reading