The legislature when Nepal was a constitutional monarchy up until 2006 was not that strong. The strongest party was the Nepali Congress Party (NC), followed by the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) There were as many as 30 political parties and they produced weak governments and strange coalitions. Legislators occasionally knocked on podiums and scuffled with guards. All this suited the king and his effort to keep power to himself. The New York Times described "Singularly Nepali style of democracy” as “a fractious political spectrum from the extreme left to right, further muddied by age-old palace intrigues."

After a form of democracy was initiated in Nepal in the 1990s, Nepalese politics quickly became characterized by bitter feuds, instability, corruption, lawlessness, and political infighting. Government frequently collapsed and politicians earned a reputation fo being greedy and incompetent. Panjak Mishra wrote in the New York Times, "The political parties...have proved unable to rise above petty loyalties of caste and ethnicity. Feudal politicians have busied themselves with plundering state resources."

The restoration of democracy in the early 1990s initially brought tremendous optimism that Nepal would experience improvements in various spheres of life, but that didn’t happen. Under democracy, inflation and corruption rose, law and order deteriorated, and the Maoist insurgency gained strength. The prime ministers and their cabinet were charged with corruption while Parliament was brought to a halt by opposition boycotts. Following a succession of failed coalition governments, the Congress party once again won a majority in the 1999 legislative elections, and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai became prime minister.

But by the end of the 1990s various developments culminated to make the era one of the most difficult in the country’s history, threatening its very existence. The earlier trade and transit impasse with India was quickly settled, but other economic problems worsened, sometimes to near-crisis levels. High inflation and substantial foreign debt limited the government’s capacity to address economic development and poverty alleviation. Furthermore, the open political climate enabled various social groups to express long-held ethnic and linguistic grievances and to demand policy changes. [Source: Library of Congress]

Politicians in Nepal

Politicians have traditionally been viewed as corrupt crooks and often referred to as members of the "Pajero class," a reference to a popular SUV. One diplomat told the New York Times, "If you are in a government, and you think you might only last a few months or so, you got to stuff your wallet fast."

The Nepalese government has traditionally been plagued by corruption and officials often have relied on bribes to supplement their income. It has long been believed that influence and jobs in government were acquired through personal and family connections. The king was viewed with ambivalence. On one hand he was respected as a symbol of the nation but on the other hand, he and the royal family were regarded as corrupt as any politician. [Source: “Countries and Their Cultures”, The Gale Group Inc., 2001]

In the 1990s, there were six different prime ministers and nine different government. Several of prime ministers served several times not in succession. The period between 1995 and 2000 saw five successive unstable coalition governments and the beginning of a Maoist insurgency, which began in rural Nepal during the mid-1990s. . Devendra Raj Panday, an economist and writer, told the New York Times, "Democracy has more or less meant multiparty chaos. Coalitions of odd bedfellows with no ideological compatibility have been running things."

Political Parties in Nepal

Political parties and leaders: Political parties and leaders: the Election Commission of Nepal granted ballot access under the proportional system to 88 political parties for the November-December 2017 House of Representatives election to the Federal Parliament; of these, the following 8 parties won seats: [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2020]

Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Khadga Prasad OLI, Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Nepali Congress or Nepali Congress (NC) led by Sher Bahadur Deuba
Federal Socialist Forum, Nepal or Federal Socialist Forum, Nepal (FSFN) led by Upendra Yadav
Naya Shakti Party, Nepal led by Baburam Bhattarai
Nepal Mazdoor Kisan Party led by Narayan Man Bijukchhe
Rastriya Janamorcha led by Chitra Bahadur K.C.
Rastriya Janata Party or Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) led by Mahanta THAKUR
Rastriya Prajatantra party or RPP led by Kamal Thapa

The first election for the 59-seat National Assembly was held in February 2018. The next will be in 2024. 2018 election results: seats by party — Nepal Communist Party (NCP): 42; Nepali Congress (NC): 13; Federal Socialist Forum, Nepal (FSFN): 2; Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN): 2.The composition is 37 men and 22 women (37.3 percent women).

The first election for 275-seat House of Representatives was held in November and December 2017. The next will be held in 2022. 2017 election results: seats by party — Nepal Communist Party (NCP): 174; Nepali Congress (NC): 63; Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN): 17; Federal Socialist Forum: Nepal (FSFN): 16: Other: 4; Independent: 1. The composition is 185 men and 90 women (32.7 percent women).

The Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) supports the monarchy. Most of the remaining seats in the lower house are in the hands of minor left/communist parties, including the United People’s Front-Nepal (UPF/N), the Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP), and the National Democratic Party (DDP).

The main party through Nepal’s modern history has been the Nepali Congress Party (NC), which opposed and finally brought down King Mahendra’s panchayat system. The Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) has traditionally been a leading opposition party. in the parliament. It was reorganized as the United Marxist-Leninists (UML) for a while a merged with other leftist parties and went thrugh other name changes before retaking the name Communist Party of Nepal (CPN). The Nepali Party had close ties with the monarchy. There have also been social democrats, less moderate Communists and radical Communists.

Political Parties in Nepal Under the Monarchy

The 1962 constitution initially prohibited the political parties and associations. Political groups operated underground, and at times on a quasi-legal organizations. Parties were legalized in 1990 and operated relatively freely until the early 2000s, when they were banned by the king, in Nepal's multiparty constitutional monarchy. Nepal does not allow party formation along ethnic, caste, religious, tribal or regional lines.

The government initiated the panchayat system — consisting four tiers of councils (panchayat) at the village, district, zone and national level with ultimate power vested in the King — in 1962. Under this system, political parties were illegal and the country was governed by local and national assemblies under the four levels mention above and controlled by the palace. In 1990, the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (People's Movement) launched a campaign of demonstrations for democratic reforms that led to the king abolishing the panchayat system and institute a multiparty democracy. [Source: “Countries and Their Cultures”, The Gale Group Inc., 2001]

After the restoration of democracy in 1990, political parties were among the most influential actors in politics, but their popularity and effectiveness was generally seen as declining by the mid 2000s. In February 2005, the king suspended all parties, claiming they were not effectively addressing the civil conflict. For many reasons, political parties were seldom capable of challenging the king’s power and rarely mobilized large portions of the population. [Source: Library of Congress, November 2005 **]

The parties were frequently perceived as representing distinct social identities, often those of dominant caste/ethnic groups. Competition within and among parties was common and it was often perceived as based on personal interests rather than on ideology or policy. Many actions of parties and their members appeared to be oriented to acquiring and maintaining power. As measured by votes received in the 1999 election, the most popular parties were the Nepali Congress (36.1 percent), Nepali Communist Party (30.7 percent), and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (10.1 percent). **

There were 23 political parties in 1994 and 30 political parties in 2000. Before 2008 the pervious election was was in May 1999. The results were: Nepali Congress: 113 seats; Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist (CPN/UML): 69 seats; National Democratic Party (NDP), also called the Rastriya Prajatantra Party: 11 seats; Other parties held the remaining seats. Elections scheduled for November 2002 were indefinitely postponed.

The main political parties in 2008 were the Nepali Congress Party, Nepali Congress-Democratic Party, Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist, Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (on the U.S. terrorist list), National Democratic Party (RPP), Nepal Goodwill Party-Ananda Devi (NSP-A), People's Front Nepal, United Left Front, and others. [Source: “Countries of the World and Their Leaders” Yearbook, Gale, 2009]

Nepali Congress Party

The Nepali Congress Party has traditionally been a reform-oriented centrist party, It has been in continuous operation in various forms and names since it was founded in 1947. It stormed to office in 1959 in a landslide victory, when Nepal was briefly democratic. At that it sought to liberalize society through democratic processes. It reign was short however. A palace coup in 1960 led to the imprisonment of Nepali Congress Party leader, B.P. Koirala, and other party leaders, some of fled to India and lived in India there. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

The Nepali Congress Party has been main political party in Nepal's modern history. Until recent times it was the source of nearly all of the country's prime ministers even when political parties were the banned. Traditionally, the Nepali Congress has been known for it factionalism, infighting and intrigue. It dominated Nepalese politics after Nepal became a democracy in 1990. It was inspired by the Indian National party in India. In 2002, the Nepali Congress Party expelled Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba from its ranks. Giriji Prasad Koirala also served as Prime Minister. he often battled Deuba.

The Nepali Congress (NC) along with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (CPN-UML) and five other parties formed the Seven-Party Alliance that signed the peace agreement with the Maoist rebels that brought an end to Nepal’s civil war in 2006. [Source: “Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments”, 2008]

The party was long led by old guard of political leaders, represented by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. The party has its roots in democratic socialism, but in the 1980s changed its position somewhat, advocating a mixed economy. In the years after democracy was brought back, between 1991 to 1994, the party introduced economic reforms that encouraged privatization, attracted foreign investment, and improve government-business management. [Source: “Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments”, 2008]

History of the Nepali Congress Party

The Nepali Congress Party (NC) was inspired by the socialist wing of the Indian National Congress and founded by the Koirala brothers, M. P. and B. P., in 1946 under the name Nepali National Congress, The party led Nepal's first democratic government fir its brief stint in 1959-1960. Most of its leaders were imprisoned or exiled during the 1960s. From India, with some Indian help, the party organized guerilla attacks and ran an underground operation in Nepal. The Nepali Congress leadership led fight that reformed and ended King Mahendra's panchayat system. [Source: “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations”, Thomson Gale, 2007]

Although political parties were prohibited from 1960 to 1963 and continued to be outlawed during the panchayat system under the aegis of the Associations and Organizations (Control) Act of 1963, the Nepali Congress Party persisted. The party placed great emphasis on eliminating the feudal economy and building a basis for socioeconomic development. It proposed nationalizing basic industries and instituting progressive taxes on land, urban housing, salaries, profits, and foreign investments. While in exile, the Nepali Congress Party served as the nucleus around which other opposition groups clustered and even instigated popular uprisings in the Hill and Tarai regions. During this time, the Nepali Congress Party refused the overtures of a radical faction of the Communist Party of Nepal for a tactical alliance. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

Although the Nepali Congress Party demonstrated its ability to endure, it was weakened over time by defection, factionalism, and external pressures. Nevertheless, it continued to be the only organized party to press for democratization. In the 1980 referendum, it supported the multiparty option in opposition to the panchayat system. In 1981 the party boycotted the Rashtriya Panchayat elections and rejected the new government. The death in 1982 of B.P. Koirala, who had consistently advocated constitutional reforms and a broad-based policy of national reconciliation, further weakened the party. *

In the 1980s, the Nepali Congress Party abandoned its socialistic economic program in favor of a mixed economy, privatization, and a market economy in certain sectors. Its foreign policy orientation was to nonalignment and good relations with India. Although Nepali Congress leaders called for a boycott of the May 1986 elections to the National Panchayat, 1,547 candidates ran for office, and only 40 of the previously elected members retained their seats. After these elections, a Democratic Panchayat Forum (DPF) was formed by Nepali Congress members to mobilize voters on a nonparty basis to counter the influence in local elections of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), whose members had won 16 seats in the National Panchayat.

In defiance of the ban on demonstrations, the Nepali Congress Party organized mass rallies in January 1990 that ultimately triggered the prodemocracy movement.Following the humiliating defeat of party leader K.P. Bhattarai by the communist factions in the 1991 parliamentary elections, Girija Prasad (G.P.) Koirala was chosen by the Nepali Congress Party as leader of its Parliamentary Board. As prime minister, he formed the first elected democratic government in Nepal in thirtytwo years.

G.P. Koirala was the third of the Koirala brothers to become prime minister. Along with his elder brother, B.P. Koirala, he was arrested in 1960 and was not released until 1967. After a period of exile that began in 1971, he returned to Nepal in 1979 under a general amnesty. He was elected general secretary of the party in 1976 in a convention at Patna and played a key role in the prodemocracy movement. G.P. Koirala was known for favoring reconciliation with the left, but he also wanted to pursue national unity and Western-style democracy.*

Nepal Communist Party

The Nepal Communist Party should not to be confused with Communist Party of Nepal (1949-1962) or Communist Party of Nepal (founded in 2013, see Below). The Nepal Communist Party was the ruling political party in Nepal, the largest communist party in South Asia, and the third largest communist party in Asia from its foundation in 2018 to its dissolution in 2021. [Source: Wikipedia]

The Nepal Communist Party was founded in May 2018 from the union of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center). Negotiation to create the party took eight months. The two predecessor parties subsequently dissolved but retained the electoral symbol of the CPN (Unified Marxist–Leninist), the sun. The party was the largest political party in the House of Representatives, National Assembly and in all provincial assemblies except No. 2. K. P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal since February 2018, and former Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal both served as the chairmen of the party.

The Nepal Communist Party splintered into two major factions after internal conflicts in the party and the dissolution of parliament, the party. In March 2021, Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled that the name "Nepal Communist Party" used by the merger of the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) was void as the name was already taken by party led by Rishiram Kattel. After the ruling, the two predecessor parties — the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) — were revived in their original state immediately prior to the merger, although should the two wish to merge again with proper procedure being followed, it would be fully allowed.

The Communist Party of Nepal is a political party in Nepal, founded in 2013 through a merger of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified), Communist Party of Nepal Marxist−Leninist (Samajbadi), Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist), Marxist Communist Party of Nepal, Bidrohi ML and the Independent Thought Group. Rishi Kattel is the chairman of the party.

Communist Parties in Nepal

Like the Nepali Congress Party, the fractured communist movement was deeply indebted to its Indian counterpart, whose initiative had helped to found the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist) in 1949 in Calcutta. Nepalese communists looked askance at the Nepali Congress Party leadership as willing collaborators of Indian expansionism and called for broad-based alliances of all progressive forces for the establishment of a people's democracy. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

As many as seventeen factions, ranging from the quasiestablishment royal communists to extremely radical fringe groups, vied for leadership and control, preventing the movement from making significant gains. The proscription of political parties in 1960 affected the communists less severely than other parties because communist factions proved better at organizing and operating underground and at making the transition to covert activity. Little effort was exerted to detain communist leaders, and in the months following the palace coup d'état in 1960, the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist) was allowed to operate with a perceptibly greater amount of freedom than any other party. The Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) was established in 1978, one of many splinter groups under the name Communist Party of Nepal. In spite of many vicissitudes encountered since the movement's inception, the communists maintained national attention because of continued support from the peasant and worker organizations and the fact that the country's poverty and deprivation offered a fertile ground for Marxist ideals. Support was maintained through the All Peasants Union and the Nepal Trade Union Congress.*

Communist groups wielded significant influence in the universities and professional groups. The movement had a dedicated cadre of motivated youth who followed party discipline strictly. Whereas the Nepali Congress Party seemed to accommodate the old guard at the expense of the younger generation, communists more ardently sought younger members. Most of the mainstream communist groups in the 1980s believed in democracy and a multiparty system, recognized no international communist headquarters or leaders, and abjured the Maoism many had embraced earlier.*

The United Left Front coalition, organized in late 1989, supported multiparty democracy. It worked briefly with the Nepali Congress during prodemocracy of 1990, it playing a critical role by joining the interim government led by the Nepali Congress Party and by submerging serious differences of opinion. Although differences in the communist camp were endemic when the movement was underground, the internal conflicts lessened as communists operated openly and began to look toward future electoral gains.*

The success of the communist parties in the May 12, 1991, election, came as a shock to the Nepali Congress Party, which had failed to repeat its 1959 landslide victory. Although there was some unity among the communist factions of the United Left Front, parties within the United Left Front Coalition differed widely in their socialist ideologies and there was no agreement to share seats with the other factions or groups. *

According to the “Gale Encyclopedia of World History”: “The communist movement in Nepal has been severely fragmented for years by personal and ideological schisms, some of them occasioned by splits and the loss of orthodoxy in the communist movement worldwide in the 1960s and 1980s. Operating for electoral and agitational purposes in the 1980s as the United Leftist Front (ULF), the Communist Party (CPN) and its several communist allies have since split, fragmenting the movement into a number of splinter parties but leaving the CPN, now reassembled as the United Marxist-Leninists (UML) as the leading opposition party in the parliament. The latest elections to the House of Representatives were held on 3 and 17 May 1999. The results were: Nepali Congress (NC), 113 seats; Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist (CPN/UML), 69 seats; National Democratic Party (NDP), also called the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, 11 seats; Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP), 5 seats; Rastriya Jana Morcha, 5 seats; Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal, 1 seat; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP), 1 seat. Elections scheduled to be held on 13 November 2002 were indefinitely postponed by the king. [Source: “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations”, Thomson Gale, 2007;”Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments”, 2008]]

Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist)

Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist Party) (CPN-UML) was Nepal’s largest communist party in the 1990s and 2000s. It was made up of moderate, centrist Communists and was led by Madhav Kumare Nepal and Amrit Bohara. Their former leader, former prime minister Mammohan Adhikary died in April 1999 at the age 78. The (CPN-UML) endorsed the creation of a welfare state and endured a bitter split in 1998. A minority UML government held power in 1994 and stalled economic liberalization and propped up public enterprises.

The Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) faction — formed as a result of a merger between the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (MarxistLeninist ) — came in second to the Nepali Congress Party in the 1991 election. The head of the communist leadership echelon was Madan Bhandari, son of a Brahman priest, who was working to turn his Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) into a formidable political power. He stunned the Nepali Congress Party in the 1991 elections by narrowly defeating its leader, K.P. Bhattarai, for a parliamentary seat in Kathmandu. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

As a partner in the interim coalition government, the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) had endorsed, although reluctantly, the new constitution, which retained the monarchy. The communists received popular support for their allegations that the Nepali Congress Party was too close to India and was a threat to Nepal's sovereignty. Other mainstream communist leaders were Man Mohan Adhikari and Sahana Pradhan, both originally of the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist); and Bishnu Bahadur Manandhar of the Communist Party of Nepal (Manandhar), another communist faction.*

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)(CPN-UML), along with the Nepali Congress (NC) and five other parties,, formed the Seven-Party Alliance that signed the peace agreement with the Maoist rebels in 2006. [Source: “Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments”, 2008]

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center)

The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) was the party of the Maoist insurgency that engaged in a civil war against the government of Nepal from 1996 to 2006. The party later changed its name to The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center).

The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) was formed in 1994 following a split in the Communist Party of Nepal-Unity Center. CPN-M was led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai. They accused the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninists) and other mainstream communist factions as traitors due to their contribution in the parliament. This resulted in an armed struggle on February 13, 1996, between the Maoist and policemen in Rukum and Rolpa districts in Northwestern Nepal and thereby, declaring a “People’s War” in Nepal. [Source: Sudheer Sharma,“The Maoist Movement: An Evolutionary Perspective”, in Deepak Thapa, ed., Understanding the Maoist Movement in Nepal, Kathmandu: Martin Chautari, 2003, mtholyoke.edu,]

Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) strongly believed in the philosophy of Mao Zedong that “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and draw inspiration from the “Revolutionary Internationalist Movement” and Peru's left wing extremist guerilla movement, the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). The “People's War” aimed to create a “New Democracy” in Nepal and comprised a “historical revolt against feudalism, imperialism and so-called reformists”. The motive behind the initiation of People’s War was the disappointment of the Nepalese Government to respond to a memorandum presented by its representatives to PM Sher Bahadur Deuba on February 4, 1996. The memorandum listed 40 demands connected to “nationalism, democracy and livelihood”. Some of the demands were the abolition of royal privileges, the spread of a new constitution, and the elimination of the Mahakali treaty with India on the allocation of water and electricity.

Organizational structure of the CPN-Maoist: : 1) Party; 2) People’s Army; 3) United Front; 4) Standing committee; 5) Central military commission; 6) United people's district committees; 7) Politburo; 8) Regional military commissions; 9) United people's area committee; 10) Central committee; 11) Sub-regional military commissions; 12) United people's village committees. Regional bureaus: 1) District military commissions; 2) United people's ward committees; 3) Sub-regional bureaus (in some places special sub-regional bureau). Included in this are: A) Temporary battalion; B) District committees; C) Companies; D) Area committees; E) Platoons; F) Cell committees; G) Squads (separate people's militias also exist under united village people's committees)

In November 2006, the Maoist insurgency came to an end after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Maoist insurgents and the Seven-Party Alliance, made up of the Nepali Congress (NC), the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (CPN-UML) and five other parties. In elections in April, 2008 the Maoist party — under the name e Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or CPN (M) — won the largest number of seats in parliament and took power.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) (CPN (Maoist), CPN-Maoist, CPN Maoist or CPN(M)) was a communist political party in Nepal from 1994 to 2018. It was founded in 1994 after breaking away from the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Center). The party has led three governments, from 2008 to 2009 and from 2016 to 2017 under Pushpa Kamal Dahal and from 2013 to 2015 under Baburam Bhattarai. The party was previously known as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) until 2009 and as the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) until 2016. In 2008, The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) placed first in the election with 220 out of 575 elected seats and became the largest party in the Constituent Assembly. In the 2013 elections, the party won 80 out of 575 elected seats to become the third largest party in the Constituent Assembly of Nepal. [Source: Wikipedia]

Maoist Rebels, See History

Other Political Parties in Nepal in the Monarch Era

Other parties in the late 2000s included two factions of the monarchist National Democratic Party; the Nepal Sadbhavana Party, based in the Terai Region and seeking closer economic integration with India. [Source: “Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments”, 2008]

There was a phenomenal rise in the number of political parties- -particularly between May and September 1990 — as strategic maneuvers to participate in parliamentary elections and find a niche in postelection Nepal occurred. The Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Good Will Party), one of several regional and ethnic parties, was founded in April 1990. It aimed at promoting the interests of the Tarai Region, including the expulsion of the Hill people from Tarai and the establishment of a special relationship with India in the framework of nonalignment. A forum for people of Indian descent, the party also favored the introduction of Hindi as the second national language. Its ideology supported a democratic socialist society. Other Tarai Region parties included the Nepal Tarai Unity Forum, the Nepal Tarai Association, and the Nepal Tarai Muslim Congress Party. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

Among the several ethnic parties were the National People's Liberation Front (Nepal Rashtriya Jana Mukti Morcha), the National Mongol Organization (Rashtriya Mongol Sanghatan), SETAMAGURALI (an acronym of names of different ethnic groups of eastern Nepal including the Tamang, Magar, and Gurung), the Front of the Kirat Aborigines (Nepal Kirat Adhibasi Janajiti Morch), the Freedom Front of the Limbu People (Limbuwan Mukli Morcha), and the Nepal Nationalist Gorkha Parishad, or Parishad (Nepal Rashtrabadi Gorkha Parishad). The Parishad, revived in September 1990, was founded in 1951 as part of Rana revivalist politics and had placed second in the 1959 general elections. Some of its senior leaders later joined the Nepali Congress or pancha camps.*

Of those groups favoring the monarchy, two conservative parties received considerable attention. Hastily founded by two former prime ministers, both parties were called the National Democratic Party — suffixed with the names Thapa or Chand enclosed within brackets. Other parties of this political bent included the National Democratic Unity Panchayat Party (Rashtriya Prajatantrik Ekata Panchayat Party), Nepal Welfare Party (Nepal Janahit Party), United Democratic Party (Samyukti Prajatantra Party), and Nepal Panchayat Council (Nepal Panchayat Parishad).*

Besides the Nepali Congress Party, fifteen centrist parties also had emerged. Most of these parties were founded by former members of the Nepali Congress Party and defecting pancha who had shifted allegiance to the multiparty system. The Women's Democratic Party aimed at promoting the rights, interests, and freedoms of Nepalese women. *

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Nepal Tourism Board (ntb.gov.np), Nepal Government National Portal (nepal.gov.np), The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Wikipedia and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated February 2022

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