Nepal. United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF) left
government cooperation in March. The decision was made in
protest that the government did not make the constitutional
changes they promised last year - and which would mean a
stronger political representation for the Madheshi minority
group. Despite the resignation, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal
Dahal's government had a majority in parliament.
For the first time in 20 years, local elections were held
in Nepal during the spring and summer. The elections were
held in several rounds, the first in May in three of Nepal's
provinces. The second round was held in the country's
southern provinces in June. Local elections were seen as an
important step in completing democracy in the country.
Countryaah.com, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal announced in May that
he would resign to be replaced by Sher Bahadur Deuba of the
Nepalese Congress (NC). The resignation took place in
accordance with an agreement in 2016 on rotation between the
country's two largest parties NC and UML until parliamentary
elections are held.
Nepal in August criminalized a Hindu tradition called
chhaupadi. The tradition means that women who are
menstruating and women who have recently given birth are
considered unclean and therefore have to sleep separated in
a hut a bit from the dwelling house. Nor do the "unclean"
women touch food, religious objects, livestock, or men.
Chhaupadi was banned by the Supreme Court more than ten
years ago, but has remained alive as the faith is deeply
rooted and no rules of punishment exist. The new law meant
that anyone who forces a woman to follow the custom will be
punished with a fine and/or up to three months in prison.
The media reported in August that about 150 people died
as a result of floods and landslides in Nepal. At the same
time, a quarter of a million Nepalese had lost their homes.
Around 20% of the country's 28 million residents were
estimated to have in some way been affected by the floods,
which according to the UN were the worst in the country in
In September, the last local elections were held in the
country's seventh province, which is dominated by the
Madheshi minority group. The election was postponed after
the Madheshi party RJPN in June called for a boycott.
However, the pressure on RJPN to participate in local
elections increased when some of its members jumped off the
party to stand in the second round of elections in June.
During the last months of the year, parliamentary
elections were held in two rounds, beginning in the northern
provinces. A preliminary result indicated a landslide
victory for an alliance between the party of the former
Maoist rebels and the country's largest communist party UML.
Losers were the Nepalese Congress and its allies.