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SOAS South Asia Institute

Nepal’s Political Transition: challenges ahead

Nepal’s Political Transition: challenges ahead
His Excellency Dr Suresh Chalise, the Nepali Ambassador to the UK and Ireland

Date: 5 February 2014Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 5 February 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

Series: SSAI Seminar Programme


Nepal, founded in 1769, has undergone many changes. When the winds of change were blowing all over the world in 1990, giving birth to many independent states in Eastern Europe, Nepal’s democratic movement also received an impetus and was successful in its objective to restore the Westminster model of multiparty democracy in the country. Ever since then, Nepal has been passing through political transition, of which unstable governments and social conflicts have been the salient features. The Maoist insurgency, which began in 1996, not only claimed about 17,000 human lives but also displaced hundreds of thousands from rural areas and destroyed millions of dollar worth of infrastructure.

Nepal has now become the youngest republic in the world. After being declared a republic in 2008, the country was supposed to accomplish two tasks: the completion of the UN-monitored peace process and the promulgation of a new constitution. It is indeed heartening to note that the political parties, which are the key carriers of political development, were successful in bringing the peace process to a conclusion. Nevertheless, despite their promises, they have so far failed to give a new constitution through the constituent assembly.

Nepal has recently elected its second Constituent Assembly. The composition of the house unequivocally is different to the previous one. The largest party in the previous Constituent Assembly was the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) which has now been reduced to third position. The Nepali Congress has made significant gains and has replaced the Maoists as the largest party in the new Constituent Assembly. Likewise, the CPN (United Marxist-Leninist), has become the second largest force. Needless to say, the regional parties that had been influential in the making and unmaking of governments have little say in the Constituent Assembly now. Indeed, the emergence of RPP (N), a pro-monarchy party, as the fourth largest party force is another striking feature of the 2nd Constituent Assembly elections.

What were the dynamics of political transition from monarchy to republic, in the Himalayan country of Nepal?  Will the changed political situation or the new composition of the second Constituent Assembly be helpful in drafting a new constitution in Nepal? If not, what could be the challenges ahead and the possible measures for a resolution? All these shall be discussed during the presentation.


His Excellency, Dr. Suresh Chalise, is the Ambassador E&P of Nepal to the United Kingdom and to Ireland. Before that he served as an Ambassador E&P of Nepal to the USA as well as Canada, Colombia and Mexico. He was the Nepalese Prime Minister's adviser and took part in various negotiations between the government and Maoists rebels during the peace process in Nepal. He additionally worked as a consultant with several international organisations before joining a government job.

Dr. Suresh Chalise earned his Ph.D in Political Sociology at the Banaras Hindu University in India and had several post-doctoral positions in Germany at the University of Dortumund as well as the University of Justusliebig availing a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Fellowship.

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute

Contact email: ssai@soas.ac.uk

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