Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK


World: South Asia

Nepal's women back democracy

Rural Nepalese women are turning out to vote

Nepal's fledgling democracy is being given new hope as women turn out to cast their vote in the ongoing general elections.

A decade after the tiny mountain kingdom embraced the multi-party system, most of Nepal's poor and disenfranchised remain on the margins of society.


BBC's Daniel Lak: "Women speak highly of a democratic system."
Our correspondent, Daniel Lak says, however, that women have expressed their support for democracy and are at the forefront for the push for changes in what is still a highly-traditional system.

Parties focus on women voters


[ image: Women in a polling booth]
Women in a polling booth
The enthusiasm shown by Nepal's women has led to its political parties focussing on their needs and concerns. Along with an increase in the number of women casting their vote, female candidates are on the increase.

Nepal's Communist parties have been quicker than most to take advantage of this. In the past, the Marxists have used music and drama to convey their message of class oppression among women and the poor.

Now, they have found such performances a useful medium through which to canvass for votes.

Maoist threat


[ image: Maoist graffitti]
Maoist graffitti
Fear of violence, following a threat by Maoist militants to disrupt the poll, led to heightened security in the first round of voting. The Maoists are mostly confined to the mountains, in predominantly rural areas.

They are fighting to turn Nepal into a Communist state.

Two people were killed during the election's first phase but, in general, voting was peaceful.

Political instability

The re-introduction of democracy to Nepal, after three decades of absolute monarchy, has failed to solve many of the country's difficulties.

It remains one of the poorest countries in the world, its political system hampered by corruption, political in-fighting and the failure over the last five years of any party to gain an overall majority in parliament.

This year's poll is expected to be dominated by the Nepali Congress and the Communist United Marxist Leninists.

The first stage of general elections in Nepal began on 3 May with six million people in 93 constituencies eligible to vote.

The second stage will be held on Monday with more than seven million people able to vote in 112 constituencies.

The winner of the election will form the eighth government in Nepal since 1991.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

03 May 99 | South Asia
Nepal: Politics and pessimism

03 May 99 | South Asia
Voting ends in Nepal

02 May 99 | South Asia
Deaths in Nepal election violence

15 Jan 99 | South Asia
Nepal election date

31 Dec 98 | South Asia
Nepal: Instability breeds poverty





Internet Links


Nepal election news

News from Nepal

Nepal homepage

Nepal country guide

TEWA - Women's non-government organisation


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Sharif: I'm innocent

India's malnutrition 'crisis'

Tamil rebels consolidate gains

From Sport
Saqlain stars in Aussie collapse

Pakistan fears Afghan exodus

Hindu-Buddhist conference in Nepal

Afghan clerics issue bin Laden fatwa

Culture awards at Asian festival

Gandhi pleads for husband's killer

UN condemns Afghan bombing

Gandhi prize for Bangladeshi