Elections in Nepal and Questions for People’s Struggles [Socialist Project / Globalresearch.ca]
by Noaman G. Ali
December 15, 2013
The recent elections in Nepal appear to spell a heavy retreat for the country’s Maoist movement. After initiating a People’s War in 1996 that lasted ten years and saw it in control of the majority of the countryside, the popular Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) formed a front with mainstream political parties to overthrow the monarchy and institute a democratic republic in the 2006 People’s Movement. Thereafter, the CPN (Maoist) emerged as the largest party in the 2008 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.the National Youth People’s Volunteers (NYPV), youth wing of revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist, marched in Kathmandu in late August, 2013, to protest the upcoming elections.
However, by November 19, 2013, the date of the second set of CA elections, the party had split into two factions that both appeared to have failed in their goals. On one hand, the reformist, electoral Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or UCPN (Maoist), lost much of its support and was reduced to third-party status in the new assembly. On the other hand, the election boycott called by the revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) is alleged to have failed, seeing as there was a “record” turnout of voters (as we will see, the reality is more complex).
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist (UML), which despite its name does not pretend to have revolutionary or even broadly progressive politics, has come in second place after the Nepali Congress, whose politics is hard to tell apart from that of the UML. Their victory then seems like a gain for the right in Nepal.
– Understanding Politics in Nepal –
But putting elections at the centre of our analysis can take away from understanding politics in Nepal. Dramatic changes in Nepal’s recent political history have occurred as a result of non-electoral politics that have often been spearheaded by or have involved considerable popular communist agitation. What’s more, Maoists came third in the 1991 elections (with 9 seats) and boycotted elections in 1994 and 1999, but that didn’t stop them from becoming the country’s largest and most influential political force by 2006.
Let us then turn to understanding four questions: First, what led to one Maoist faction engaging in elections and the other deciding to boycott the CA process in its entirety? Second, what were the reasons for the boycott called by the CPN-Maoist? Third, why did UCPN (Maoist) lose the elections? Fourth, was the CPN-Maoist boycott a failure?…