Influence of Political Parties in Elections: Evidence from Nepal

By Momen, Nurul | Cross - Cultural Communication, September 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Influence of Political Parties in Elections: Evidence from Nepal


Momen, Nurul, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract:

This article measures the influence of political party variables on the electoral process in Nepal. In the findings, in general, the research found that a free and fair election in Nepal does not perform at par with their counterparts in the Western world. In Nepal, it is the confrontational political culture among the political parties which is challenging to ensure free and fair elections.

Key words: Free and fair elections; Nepal and political parties

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

Nepal has seen rapid political changes during the last two decades. Until 1990 Nepal was a monarchy under the executive control of the kmg. Faced with a movement against the absolute monarchy, King Birendra,l in 1990, agreed to large-scale political reforms by creating a parliamentary monarchy with the king as the head of : . . . . , ® . state and a prime mmister as the head of the government. y Again, the people's movement in 2006 brought about changes in Nepal. An interim constitution was , , T_. . . . promulgated in 2007, with the Kmg giving up power, and an interim House of Representatives was formed with Maoist members after the new government held peace talks with the Maoist rebels> In 2007, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) joined the interim government of Nepal. On 10 December 2007, the interim parliament passed a bill that made Nepal a federal republic, and (with) the Prime Minister becoming head of state. On 28 May 2008, lawmakers in Nepal legally abolished the monarchy, and declared the country a republic, ending 239 years of royal rule in the Himalayan nation (International Crisis Group, 2008).

In 2008 Nepal's Constituent Assembly (CA) elections marked a major step forward to a federal democratic republic. On 10,h April, 2008, the first election for the constitution assembly took place in Nepal (International Crisis Group, 2008). The Communist Party of Nepal (CPNMaoist) led the election results, but failed to gain a simple majority in the parliament. However, Nepal has been "S " " sin- I960 except during the war there was no election (excluding the municipal election). After a long gap, Nepal managed to hold the election of the Constituent Assembly on April 10, 2008. The 2008 Constituent Assembly election transitioned from a monarchy to a parliamentary republic, and gaye m overwhelming victory t0 Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) ^ ended ^ long ciyi| war i

1. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Qualitative research helps to give a real meaning of the research as well as a comprehensive study to analyze the findings. This approach does not make analyses, and conclusions based on figures rather it is more explanatory and exploratory. Therefore, I decided to employ qualitative approach in my research.

Every research requires methodology to execute the study. In doing so, both historical and empirical data was used. Historical data was mostly collected from secondary sources, such as published books, reports, journals and articles. Empirical data was collected from intensive fieldwork through interviews in Nepal from July 2011 to August 2011; however, many prominent personalities (11 respondents) from different categories were invited for interview. Bureaucrats, social activists, politicians, leaders of different social movement, professionals and other high ranking people of policy making level were the participants. I asked to different categories of respondents in Nepal about how political parties' influence of institutionalizing free and fair elections.

2. INTRODUCTION

Norton (2000, p.8) argues out that political party is crucial to political life and central to Westminster form of government, but excessive partisanship is harmful to limiting its capacity to call government into account (Rahman, 2005). The political confrontation among the parties tends to treat each other as enemies rather than as opponents in Nepal. Furthermore, Nepal's political parties are still dominated by the upper castes and classes of society that have ruled the country for centuries. …

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