Over the last two weeks Nepal has struggled to push forward in the midst of heightened unrest and violence. While the government has sought aid from China to meet a shortage of oil and petroleum imports, the Madhesi people continue to push for more equal constitutional representation. Meanwhile, Saturday was an important day for Nepal as the legislative party voted to hold elections for the presidency and vice presidency.
Oil from China
China is sending Nepal 1,000 metric tons of petrol as a subsidy to ease the fuel crisis. According to sources close to the Commerce Ministry, they have agreed to sign a deal to export petroleum products to Nepal in the future.
“Nepal govt. decides to import petroleum products from China.” Review Nepal. October 25, 2015.
“China to provide Nepal oil to ease crisis.” Gulf Times. October 24, 2015.
Conflict with Madhesi
So far action to address the grievances of the Madhesi have not succeeded, as the government failed to reach a deal with the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha on Sunday and the United Democratic Madhesi Front voted to intensify their protest program.
“Talks with Madhesi bear no fruit.” Review Nepal. October 25, 2015.
“UDMF protests turn violent in Terai.” Review Nepal. October 25, 2015.
Samiti, Rastriya Samachar. “UDMF cadres clash with police, half dozen hurt.” The Himalayan Times. October 24, 2015.
Border and Supply Problems Remain
Despite agreements with China to import many tons of petrol, scarcity persists as the Nepali regions bordering India remain “unofficially blocked” according to local residents. One consequence, among many, is an increase in the sale on the black market of petroleum products to try and quell the problem.
“Government effortful to ease border problems: DPM Thapa.” Review Nepal. October 24, 2015.
“EU calls on India to ensure essential supplies to Nepal.” Kathmandu Post. October 24, 2015.
“Black marketing of petroleum products goes unchecked in Rupandehi.” The Himalayan Times. October 24, 2015.
President and VP Elections
On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, the Nepalese parliament held its first presidential election since the adoption of the new constitution and in a historic decision elected its first female president, Bidhya Devi Bhandari. President Bhandari is a longtime advocate for women’s rights and will join the Nepali leadership as it tries to overcome current unrest and usher in a new era with a new constitution.
Associated Press in Kathmandu. “Nepalese parliament elects first female president.” The Guardian. October 28, 2015.
The views expressed by Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Interns are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the IPJ or of the University of San Diego.