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Nepal: Elections, The King and Khatmandu

The Himalayan kingdom of Nepal has been going through a political turbulence for the past few months. On February 8, 2006, Nepal held municpal elections that had low voter turnout, and failed to placate its citizen, and the various poitical parties. The elections have come under strong criticisms as various bloggers point out in their posts.

Even before people went to cast their votes there has been a heated debate about the elections. For instance Nepal Lawdiscusses the ramifications of allowing voters to cast their votes without proper identification, and points out that it is inconsistent with the consititutional law of the country. How did the election commission allow such a thing to pass they question?

Buddha, a Nepali student studying in Singapore wrote about the upcoming elections in a post called Nepal Elections: Bullet vs. Ballot.Blogdai has some insightful observations about elections and the low turnout rate in his blog Nepal Now . Low turnout rate should not be associated with political apathy blogdai argues. Instead, it should be seen as an encouraging sign of a people who are “desperate for change,” and willing to give up their life for it.

Maila Baje of Nepali Notebook calls the elections as “A Sham with Symbolism” and says: “For a regime facing scathing criticism at home and abroad for failing to keep its pledges, moreover, holding the local elections on schedule provided a rare opportunity to respond.” Mero Sansar is a blog written in Nepali that translates into “My World” has an entry about a peaceful protest. Through my rudimentary knowledge of Nepali I was able to figure that out that the latest post is about a peaceful protest. He also has an audio update of the election that you can listen here Mero Sansar also has video and audio posts about Nepal, and you can check out the past couple of weeks. Jackaranda has a nice news summary about the elections. Deepak Adhikari of Kathmandu has a post called Nepal: An Election Fiasco and the picture in the post speaks volumes.

Publius Pundit has a post titled “Nepal's King Solidifies His Illegitimacy.” He says: “In reality, this election is not about restoring democracy, but trying to establish a legitimacy for the King’s power grab. Unfortunately for him, the mass boycott of the polls has dealt him a much different deck of cards.” And if you can read Nepali here is a blog maintained by Nepali journalists, who write on freedom and democracy.

(Note – United We Blog has been down for a couple of days now and this appears to be the reason.)

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