Left Alliance set to form majority government in Nepal

By Ritu Raj Subedi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, December 28, 2017
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Nepal [File photo]

The Left Alliance has swept to victory in historic federal and provincial elections in Nepal, setting the stage for the formation of first majority communist government. 

The CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre, two constituents of the Left Alliance, rolled over the Nepali Congress (NC) in the two-tier polls under a first-past-the-post (FPTP) arrangement held on Nov 26 and Dec 7. 

The Left Alliance secured a majority in six provinces out of seven, while gaining around 71 percent of the elected representatives in local bodies. 

Of 165 federal seats, the Left Alliance gained 118, the NC 23 and the Madhesh-based parties 21. The UML also racked up the highest votes under the proportional representation (PR) electoral system from which 40 percent of the lawmakers are picked for the federal parliament. 

On the eve of the elections, the two big communist parties had announced an electoral alliance and a plan to unite the parties in a dramatic move, which eventually created synergic effects on the voters during the poll. 

The crucial polls, under the new constitution, cap seismic changes over the last decades and transformed the nation into a federal, secular and republican format. The electorate has given the  Left Alliance a mandate to steer the nation on the path of lasting peace and economic development.

This is the biggest electoral success for the Nepali communists since the establishment of the CPN in 1949. The people like their agenda of nationalism, stability and prosperity. They have given the thumps-up to UML's chair K. P. Oli's nationalistic stance taken in the wake of an Indian economic embargo in 2015.

Oli, who led a nine-month communist government following the promulgation of new constitution, defied the brutal blockade imposed on Nepal struggling to pick up the pieces following a devastating April earthquake. He signed a historic trade and transit treaty with China that ended Nepal's dependency on India for an access to the sea.

The Left Alliance has promised to connect Nepal with China via railway networks under the Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI), which holds the key to ensuring energy security and trade diversity for the Himalayan nation. 

The people punished the NC for its gratuitous tilt towards India.When they were reeling from an acute shortage of fuel, food and medicines owing to the blockade, it drew back from calling it an embargo, although the international community could easily see it was. 

Worse, it hobnobbed with the Madhesh-based parties to separate the Terai region bordering India from the hills by amending the new constitution. The UML, however, foiled this attempt in parliament. 

NC President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba even promised before his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that he would make maximum efforts to amend the constitution following the election. His commitment amounted to surrendering Nepal's dignity to India. The NC coaxed a few Madhesi leaders, who have been working as the "strategic agents" of southern neighbor, to hurt the majority of populace. 

Just ahead of the poll, the NC government had terminated an agreement on the construction of the Budhigandani hydropower project with China's Gezhouba Group. The 1,200mW hydropower plant was an important project to be carried out under the BRI. 

The people voted the Left Alliance to power simply because it pledged to create a stable administration and spur sustainable development. Indeed, it was their rational choice. In the past, the NC led a majority government three times but it neither delivered development nor consolidated democracy. Corruption thrived to endemic proportions with many of its leaders facing jail over the various graft cases.

Driven by neo-liberalization policy, the NC governments sold off many public enterprises at a throwaway price, forcing millions of Nepalis to scratch a living in the Gulf nations. It erroneously invoked the threat of communist dictatorship to malign the Left Alliance during the election, but this was anti-left rhetoric ignored by the electorate. 

Oli said the people had voted for the Left Alliance to bring them happiness and prosperity, not just form a government. "We will not betray the people's faith in us at all cost," he told an election victory meeting.

Ritu Raj Subedi is an associate editor of The Rising Nepal.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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