The Maoist movement and its impact on the democratic transition of Nepal
Adhikari, Saroj Kumar
Matei, Florina Cristiana
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Nepal’s age-old ethnic grievances created a platform for the Maoists to launch their political strategy into broad sections of Nepalese society. The explicit politicization of ethnic grievances helped propel the party to victory in Nepal’s first constitutional election in 2008. Soon thereafter, however, the Maoists lost the lead role in Nepalese politics, in no small part because they failed to deliver on their ethnic promises. This thesis examines the rise and fall of the Maoists in Nepal, as well as the sources and context of the ethnic grievances that have simmered in the country throughout its modern political history. It finds that genuine reform has collided with (and frequently lost out to) the short-term agitations of power politics across the partisan spectrum. In this context, the present thesis establishes a framework to understand the role of ideas in democratizing states. The clash between ideas and ideology on the matter of ethnic grievances sheds light on how the Maoists failed to convert the claims of their movement into the actions of their party in government. The lesson for the remaining parties is clear: resolving Nepal’s ethnic tensions is a matter of ongoing urgency in the country’s democratization.
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