February 1, 2018
A leftist alliance between former Maoist rebels and communists emerged victorious in Nepal’s first parliamentary election since 1999, with the ruling centre-left party suffered significant losses.
The election was a contest between the centrist Nepali Congress party of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur
Deuba, who heads an alliance that includes former royals and the Madhesi parties from Nepal’s southern plains bordering India, and the alliance of former Maoists and the moderate Communist Party of Nepal-UML.
The polls come two years after the approval of a new constitution which sees Nepal transitioning into a
democracy after the abolition of the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy and the end of a 10 year civil war.
The new government will mark the return of K P Sharma Oli as prime minister. Oli was at the helm from October 2015 to August 2016 but lost his seat when the Maoists dropped out of a coalition government and he had to quit.
The Nepali Congress, an economically liberal centrist party, is often perceived to be close to India, while the left alliance is seen as closer to China. The victory by the leftist alliance will be seen by observers as another sign of China’s growing influence in South Asia.
Along with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Nepal has rushed to join China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which aims to invest in infrastructural projects throughout the region.