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Nepal moves on

Every issue we check in on the Nepali peace process, running since the end of the 10-year civil war in 2006.

As PN went to press, Nepalis were completing the first leg of national and provincial elections under the constitution agreed (finally) in 2015.

The second and final set of elections (including the capital Kathmandu) takes place on 7 December.

The big news is that the Communist Party Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninists (UML) and the Communist Party Nepal-Maoist Centre have formed an electoral alliance and intend to merge to form a single communist party. They look set to win and hold power for years, if they can maintain the alliance/merger.

Both parties are firmly mainstream free-market parties, communist only in name.

The Maoists were guerrilla fighters controlling much of the country during the civil war, but they failed to make good on their radical promises when they were elected to power and they’ve lost much of their support.

Local elections earlier this year made it clear they are now a third force in Nepali politics. The UML won 14,000 seats; the Nepali Congress 11,400 seats and the Maoists just 5,400.

There is speculation locally that China has persuaded the two communist parties to merge, to decrease Indian influence in Nepal.