Towards a Democratic Nepal: Inclusive Political Institutions for a Multicultural Society

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Item Code: IDE595
Author: Mahendra Lawoti
Publisher: Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 0761933190
Pages: 345
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5" X 5.6"
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From the Jacket:

The Maoist insurgency in Nepal, which began in 1996, has led to considerable political violence in which more than 10,000 people have already lost their lives. This insurgency began and grew dramatically because of the injustice and inequality inherent in Nepali society. Paradoxically, argues the author of this timely book, it was the restoration of democracy in 1990 that heightened awareness of these inequities and which encouraged the dispossessed to articulate their problems and aspirations.

Providing comprehensive critique of the Constitution adopted in 1990, this book identified it as an important factor in the exclusion of various ethnic and minority groups. It examines the causes for the lack of democratic consolidation in Nepal and outlines alternative institutions that can give voice to the various sociocultural groups in the country and strengthen democracy. Dr. Lawoti makes a case for setting up a new Constituent Assembly and for following the principle of self-determination to reform the polity. He also makes several important recommendations for the construction of an inclusive and democratic Nepal. These include:

  • Federalism;
  • An elected powerful House of Nationalities;
  • A proportional electoral system;
  • Affirmative action policies and reservations;
  • Declaration of a secular state;
  • A centralized judicial review; and
  • The constitutional protection of minority rights.
Overall, argues the author, unless Nepal's ruling elite becomes sensitive to the needs of marginalized and excluded groups, the country could witness an escalation in violence. Highlighting a range of issues critical to strengthening democracy in Nepal, this important book will appeal to scholars and students of Nepal - especially its government, politics and society - and of South Asian Studies. It will be of equal interest to policy makers, development agencies and journalists interested in Nepal.

About the Author:

Mahendra Lawoti is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He has previously taught at the University of Pittsburg. Dr. Lawoti has written widely on democratization, the Maoist insurgency, ethnic politics, constitutionalism, and political institutions in Nepal. He has been involved in social justice movements in Nepal and has participated in regional, national and international initiatives advocating human rights.


List of Tables9
List of Abbreviations11
Part I: The Problem: Exclusion and its Consequences
Chapter 1: Political Exclusion in Democratizing Nepal19
Chapter 2: Exclusion and Violent Conflicts in Nepal:
                 The Maoist Insurgency and Beyond
Part II: The Context: Multicultural Society, Political Exclusion and Majoritarian Institutions
Chapter 3: Cleavages, Conflicts and Sociocultural Groups87
Chapter 4: The Constitution as the Source of Exclusion113
Chapter 5: Inclusion in Multicultural Societies:
                 Accomodation through Power Sharing and Autonomy
Part III: A Method for Inclusion: Democratic Deliberation
Chapter 6: A Method for Selecting Inclusive Democratic
                 Political Institutions
Chapter 7: The Process for Designing an Inclusive Polity194
Part IV: The Solution: Inclusive Democratic Political Institutions
Chapter 8: Federalism and Group Autonomy:
                 Group Rights, Public Policies and Inclusion
Chapter 9: Proportionality: Inclusion through Equality and Justice263
Chapter 10: Constitutional Protection of Minority Rights287
Part V: The Future: A Multicultural Democratic Nepal
Chapter 11: Multicultural Democracy: Congruence between the State and Society303
About the Author347

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