On Feb. 20, 2017 the Government of Nepal (GoN) announced that the first local elections in 20 years will be held on May 14, 2017. Citizens are eager to elect local representatives in their own communities and have met the announcement with anticipation. However, the announcement has also led to protest and violent clashes in areas of the Tarai where the constitution remains contested and there are outstanding demands that political issues be resolved before elections are held. Multiple injuries and at least four deaths have been the result of Madheshi protestors and cadres of Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) clashing, or security forces mobilizing to resolve tension between these groups. Strong concerns exist that protests, clashes, and as a result violent incidents, may continue if political resolution is not sought as the country continues towards polls.
This is the first of a series of periodic analysis updates that Democracy Resource Center Nepal (DRCN) and the Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP) | Nepal Monitor, will be releasing during the upcoming election period. DRCN aims to promote democracy in Nepal through localized observation, research, and objective reporting. COCAP contributes to the peace process in Nepal in many ways, one among them by promoting social security system, strengthening democratic practices and developing culture of human rights. This project receives financial and technical support from The Asia Foundation and The Carter Center.