People's Movement I (1990)
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The 1990 People's Movement (Nepali: जनआन्दोलन (Jana Andolan)) was a multiparty movement in Nepal that brought an end to absolute monarchy and the beginning of constitutional democracy. It also eliminated the Panchayat system.
The movement was marked by a unity between the various political parties. Not only did various Communist parties group together in the United Left Front, but they also cooperated with parties such as Nepali Congress. One result of this unity was the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).
In 2006, following the restoration of absolutism in Nepal, the Loktantra Andolan was launched which once again illustrated a unity between various political parties leading some to brand it Jana Andolan-II.
The 1990s People’s Movement drafted the constitution into effect in November 1990. This constitution forced the monarchy of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev to hand over decisions of government to the Nepali people. Through rallies and protest King Birendra was convinced to enforce a new constitution of the people, and “identifies the people as the source of political legitimacy . . . and guarantees of basic rights” (Baral). Now Nepalese citizens 18 years of age and up are eligible to vote. Due to the high illiteracy rates, nearly 40% of the population, political parties are related or associated with symbols. For instance, the Tree represents the Nepali Congress Party, and the Sun represents the Unified Marxist Party.
However, the construction of the constitution faced many difficulties because of the chasm between elites and the typical voter. The leaders of the most prominent parties are typically upper class citizens who are rarely concerned or associate with the larger section of the Nepal population, in which the typical voter had a high probability of being illiterate and high ethnic attachment. This large disparity increased the difficulty of creating a usable system that allowed electoral officials and Nepali citizens create a new system, yet still embrace traditions and beliefs about caste.
- Baral, Lok Raj (January 1994), "The Return of Party Politics in Nepal", Journal of Democracy 5: 121–133
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