Date of Degree

2-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Mark Ungar

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities

Keywords

Democracy, Democratization, Democratic consolidation, Nepal Democracy

Abstract

After popular uprisings that started in 1989, Nepal declassed the 200-year old absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1990 and entered into an era of parliamentary democracy. The road to democratization was to be proven tumultuous when the Maoists launched an insurgency in 1996. In 2003, citing democratic government’s inability to end the bloody insurgency and political parties’ utter ineptitude in governance, King Gyanendra dismissed the parliament and retook the reign in an attempt to re-establish absolute monarchy. Just three years after, the Maoists and an alliance of seven political parties reached an agreement to end the insurgency, abolish monarchy and re-write the country’s constitution declaring Nepal a Federal Republic, and launched yet another peaceful movement against the monarchy. In the face of formidable protests against which the military refused to use lethal force, the king relented and Nepal was declared a democratic republic in 2016.

The process of democratization in one of the poorest countries in the world has proven to be an arduous task. The lingering feudal social mindset from the era of absolute monarchy, initial absence of proper institutions to foster democracy, rampant corruption, lack of order, to name a few factors, have raised questions about Nepal’s prospects for democratic consolidation. This thesis will apply theories on democracy, democratization, and democratic consolidation to explore Nepali democratization and assess where Nepal stands in the process. In particular, this thesis will delve into rule of law and civil liberties – two critical indicators of democracy - in the current Nepali context to see how strong the case for democratic consolidation in that country can be made.

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