05 August, 2021

A Welcome Respite

The Nepali Congress' comeback ends the uncertain coalition era

A Welcome Respite
May 31 was a notable day for Nepal: its elusive search for a majority government finally came to an end. It mattered little that the new Nepali Congress premier, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, 75, showed signs of failing health as King Birendra administered the oath of office to his 16-member cabinet. Or that he had yet again failed to feel the electoral pulse: he didn't induct a single new face in his cabinet. But he's expected to make amends when he expands it next.

Indeed these elections, denied twice to the people in the five-year period, marked the end of a notorious "coalition era" that saw the 205-seat Pratinidhi Sabha try all possible permutations and combinations in search of stability. In all, six governments took office in five years as the nine-year-old democracy went into a tailspin after a 1994 snap poll elected a hung parliament. "Voters have proved the analysts wrong," an elated Narahari Acharya, election spokesman for the Nepali Congress, told Outlook. "After a temporary setback, the party's bounced back to claim its position as Nepal's most enduring political...

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