Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times, in The Wall Street Journal:
It’s been over a decade since the Maoists declared war on Nepal’s monarchy, and two years since King Gyanendra abdicated his throne. If all goes well on Thursday, both eras – of Maoists and monarchs – could come to an end, as voters cast their ballots for a 601-member assembly that will draft the country’s new constitution.
This election is critical for Nepal’s future. Since the King abdicated his throne in April 2006, elections had to be postponed twice because political leaders – both Maoists and from the parties – who thought they would lose colluded to have it postponed. The Maoists resigned from the government and rejoined it, and the country seemed to be on the brink of war again. Then, unrest on the plains bordering India threatened an ethnic conflict.
[Photo: King Gyanendra (left) and Prachanda]
In Nepal, hope and (some) fear on the campaign trail
Nepal goes to the polls on Thursday in an election that could bring the Maoists into mainstream democratic politics and spell the end of the monarchy. Simon Denyer of Reuters has the story.
High in the Himalayas, impoverished, ill-governed Nepal is hoping its first elections in nine years will help cement peace after a decade-long civil war, and allow it finally to join its booming big brother, India, in a new era of prosperity.
Two years after mass street protests brought an end to an ill-fated period of royal rule, the vote will also formally restore democracy to Nepal. “It is not going to solve everything overnight, but it is closure for one chapter in our history and the beginning of a new one,” said Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times.
Yet the challenges ahead are immense, not least because violence and intimidation have seriously marred the campaign and could undermine the voting day itself.
Former US President Jimmy Carter is in Kathmandu as an observer. He tells Kantipur Online’s Prateek Pradhan, Narayan Wagle, Damakant Jayshi and Dinesh Wagle that the election will end conflict and establish a republic.
Former US President Jimmy Carter said that the constituent assembly election in Nepal – on Thursday – would end armed conflict and establish a new republic in the country.
“I see this election as doing two things basically: one is ending an armed conflict, and secondly forming a new republic with an end to the dominating royalty,” Carter said during an exclusive interview with the Post and its sister paper, Kantipur here on Tuesday. “We are very excited about the prospects of this country finding peace and also finding democracy based on republic. It is a very wonderful achievement.”
And on how the Carter Center is observing this historic election click here.