April 24, 2017
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Lacking consensus
Nepal’s new constitution and the challenges After nearly a decade of political struggle, the land-locked South Asian nation of Nepal recently passed a constitution. Nepal has adopted a new constitution aimed at bolstering its transformation to a peaceful democracy after decades of political instability and a long civil war. Nepal’s monarchy, which ruled the country for more than 2 centuries, came to a formal end in 2008, and birthed the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. The new constitution is the final stage in a peace process that began when Maoist fighters laid down their arms in 2006 after a decade-long insurgency aimed at abolishing an autocratic monarchy and creating a more equal society. The country, still reeling from a devastating earthquake in April that killed nearly 10,000 people, passed the new constitution with majority support, but riots and violence marred the celebrations with some groups contending that their rights had been trampled upon. The move to create a new federal structure that will devolve power from the center has widespread support, but critics say the planned internal borders will leave some historically marginalized groups under-represented in Parliament. They include the Madhesi and Tharu ethnic minorities who mainly inhabit Nepal’s southern plains, along the border with India. Nepal has adopted a new constitution aimed at bolstering its transformation from a Hindu monarchy to a secular democracy,
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