Introduction To Nepalese Politics / by Thomas-Xavier Christiane

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2018 - Fact. If you’re reading this, you’re human. If so, everyday, you have to express a basic need, going to the toilet. So do democratic societies. And it’s called politics. Regularly, in these societies, people are called to go into a private room to relieve themselves: elections. Nepal is a democratic society. 

Let’s start with something rational. Once upon a time, Nepal was a closed Himalayan kingdom isolated from the rest of the world. One ruler, one people. « Problem? No problem ».  Only a few hippies were present in Nepal as foreigners. But in the late century, the ideas of globalization and democracy spread through the world. One day, it reached Kathmandu. Since then, Nepal has slowly evolved to a democracy. The 20th century of Nepalese politics was mostly about confusion and its violence. At the end it turned out to a civil war that killed dozens of thousands of people people between 1996 and 2006. This war was leaded by the maoists against the Nepalese government.

In 2008, the country finally became a stable democracy and was finally able to focus on its globalization. To the point that presently, hippies have been replaced by yogie-vegans punks. Today, Nepal is a peaceful country. The maoist are now a mainstream party. The population is shared between the people of the big cities who have access to water, electricity and a decent life and the one from « remote areas ». Those who live with nothing. « Only Dal Bath! » The main religion is hinduism but it’s not the only one. Buddhists, christians and muslims live together. Nepal is a diverse and open minded conservative country. The families are the warrant of solidarity in a country with no social security. The cast system still exists in some people’s minds but the western culture has partly invaded the territory. Mostly in Kathmandu. The younger generation of Nepal learns English and travel the world. « I have a brother in Belgium » « In London, only raining » «  Eden Hazard, you know? Best player! »

Geographically, it’s way more complex. Nepal has some of the highests mountains in the world. Driving small distances in remote areas can take weeks because of the road quality. The weather is hot in the summer and the winters are cold in the evening. Communications are made of two different phone networks. « One for big cities, the other one for remote areas ». That is why in Nepal, phones have two sim-cards slots. Transport are organized through a network of small airports. Plane ticket are cheap for Nepalese and overpriced for foreigners. « Nepali 4.200 rupees (42$). Tourists, 21.000 (210$). It’s because of government regulations. » 

The 26th of November and the 7th of December, all Nepalese older than 18 were invited to cast their vote. This election happened under high tension. In some areas, bombs were blasted at candidates. « IED’s, Improvised explosive devices » Other violences happened such as riots or murders. Everywhere in Nepal, the army was deployed and the police was heavily reinforced by volunteers called in all the Republic.

This sounded to me like a nice opportunity to discover Nepal.

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