Saturday, October 31, 2015

Political Life

Political Life
Government. The Shah dynasty has ruled the country since its unification, except during the Rana period from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. During the Rana administration, the Shah monarchs were stripped of power and the country was ruled by a series of prime ministers from the Rana noble family. In 1950, the Shah kings were restored to the throne and a constitutional monarchy was established that eventually took the form of the panchayat system. Under this system, political parties were illegal and the country was governed by local and national assemblies controlled by the palace. In 1990, the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (People's Movement) initiated a series of popular demonstrations for democratic reforms, eventually forcing the king to abolish the panchayat system and institute a multiparty democracy.
The country is divided administratively into fourteen zones and seventy-five districts. Local and district-level administers answer to national ministries that are guided by policies set by a bicameral legislature made up of a House of Representatives and a National Council. The majority party in the House of Representatives appoints the prime minister. The executive branch consists of the king and the Council of Ministers.
Leadership and Political Officials. The government is plagued by corruption, and officials often rely on bribes to supplement their income. It is widely believed that influence and employment in government are achieved through personal and family connections. The king is viewed with ambivalence. He and his family have been criticized for corruption and political repression, but photos of the royal family are a popular symbol of national identity and many people think of the king as the living embodiment of the nation and an avatar of the god Vishnu.
Social Problems and Control. International attention has focused on the plight of girls who have been lured or abducted from villages to work as prostitutes in Indian cities and child laborers in carpet factories. Prostitution has increased the spread of AIDS. Foreign boycotts of Nepali carpets have helped curb the use of child labor but have not addressed the larger social problems that force children to become family wage earners.
Military Activity. The military is small and poorly equipped. Its primary purpose is to reinforce the police in maintaining domestic stability. Some Royal Nepal Army personnel have served in United Nations peacekeeping forces. A number of Nepalis, particularly of the hill ethnic groups, have served in Gurkha regiments. To many villagers, service in the British Army represents a significant economic opportunity, and in some areas soldiers' remittances support the local economy.

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