Nepal braces for instability

2012-05-28 10:02
Kathmandu - Nepal was preparing on Monday for months of political instability after the government failed to meet a midnight deadline to agree a new post-war constitution, forcing fresh elections.

The country's parliament, elected in 2008 to write the statute after a decade of civil war, will be disbanded ahead of November elections after failing to agree on the nation's new federal structure.

"Though we were unable to promulgate the constitution, we have decided to seek a mandate through elections for a new Constituent Assembly on 22 November," Maoist Premier Baburam Bhattarai said in a televised address.

Bhattarai, who leads a national unity government made up of the country's four major parties, vowed to stay in office until the vote, saying executive power would remain with his government.

The speech sparked anger within the coalition, with the Nepali Congress, Unified Marxist Leninist party and United Democratic Madhesi Front arguing elections would be unconstitutional and demanding the premier's resignation.


The constitution was intended to create a new secular, democratic republic following the abolition of Nepal's centuries-old Hindu monarchy after the Maoist rebels gave up arms and won the 2008 elections.

It was also meant to bring stability to the impoverished Himalayan nation and unite its more than 100 ethnic minorities in a country traumatised by the deaths of 16 000 people in the 1996 - 2006 civil war.

But while the Maoists, who dominate the assembly, want the creation of up to 14 states named after ethnic groups, their rivals say dividing Nepal along ethnic lines will fuel unrest.

Despite four extensions of the assembly's mandate, it was unable to complete the far-reaching document, and the Supreme Court ruled that any further extensions would be illegal.

Analysts had warned that failure to promulgate the constitution would lead to a "power vacuum", with a caretaker government and president having no mandate, and no chamber in place to pass laws and rubber-stamp decisions.

"The human cost of an election is likely to be very high. Even if the election takes place, it will be very violent," said political analyst Tilak Pathak.

"Even the current government's legitimacy will be questioned because after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the government will be a caretaker one."

The widespread hope in Nepal that followed the end of the civil war and the abolition of the unpopular monarchy has been replaced by a growing sense of anger and frustration.

Political instability has stifled economic growth, forcing many people to seek work overseas, and thousands of Nepalese have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest at the lack of progress in their country.
Read more on:    nepal  |  security

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

40% off top appliances!

Save 40% on the top 10 appliances on While stocks last. Shop now!

Save 20% on Camping gear!

Buy 4 camping items and save 20%. While stocks last. Shop now!

Fifty Shades of Grey!

This great read will captivate you from cover to cover and leave you itching for more. Get your copy now!

20% off braai items!

Save 20% when you buy 2 braai items. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Pampers!

Save 30% when you buy 3 or more selected pampers products. While stocks last. Shop now!


There is a strong focus on sharing the optimistic energy with your loved one. You are in the mood to go large and impress more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.