VOTER POWER

The first surprise was the turnout. About 65 percent of Nepal's 13.5 million voters cast ballots in the country's general elections held this May. Conventional wisdom was that since Nepalis were fed up with non-performance and corruption, incited by a Maoist boycott and threats of violence, and uninspired by an issue-less campaign, they would stay away from the booths in large numbers.

Instead, the turnout was as high as in the last elections five years ago. Not only that, Nepali voters surprised everyone by showing more maturity in their collective judgement than the politicians they had elected. They decided that the Nepali Congress will form a majority government, and the Communist Party of Nepal United Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) will provide the main opposition.

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Himal Southasian
www.himalmag.com