Revolutionary Elected Prime Minister of Nepal
The revolution in Nepal took another step forward with the election of Pushpa “Prachanda” Dahal voted in as the first Prime Minister on August 15th. He won overwhelmingly with 464 of 577 votes cast in the 601 person National Assembly. The loser from the Congress Party obtained 113 votes. This defeat is important because the Congress Party represents the old landowners and wealthy bosses who are putting up roadblocks as the people march towards a new Nepal. The new Prime Minister, Prachanda, as he is popularly known, is the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), and the vote reflects both the mandate granted to his party by the people and the unity built with twenty-one other parties. This new phase of the revolution, ruling the country, follows ten years of fighting a people’s war against a corrupt and hated monarchy and the rich elite. The monarchy is history. The people of Nepal are in power. In the nationwide elections, held in April of this year, Prachanda’s party was overwhelmingly favored, getting nearly double the next highest tally for any other party. The CPN (M) ran on a platform of creating a democratic republic, national development for the benefit of all, and equal rights for Nepal’s neglected minorities.
Nepal is a landlocked country situated in the Himalayas between China and India, and is one of the poorest countries in the world. A third of the population lives on less than a dollar a day and under half of the people are able to read and write, while the great majority makes a precarious living from the land. On the other hand, a tiny clique of absentee landlords rallied around the royal family, living in corrupt opulence in the capital city. For 10 years, Prachanda led a rebel army in waging an armed struggle against the repressive royal dictatorship. That regime is estimated to have killed 10,000 people during the conflict, in addition to “disappearing” countless democracy activists and journalists. Then, in 2006, a massive uprising in the cities combined with the rebellion in the countryside and managed to finally sweep away the royalist regime.
Nepal has great challenges ahead. The task of postwar reconstruction is immense and there are serious fuel and food shortages. It is expected that a struggle to reform the Royal Army, replacing military officers who committed countless crimes, will unfold under the new government. But now, Nepal has taken a big step forward. This is good news for the people of Nepal, and a victory for people fighting for justice and against Empire around the world.