February 20, 2020
Nepal’s 2020 will mark the five-year anniversaries of the 2015 earthquake and the promulgation of the new constitution. While the country has many valuable lessons to share from its reconstruction efforts, disaster preparedness will remain largely absent from the nation’s priorities. The constitution and its implementation will continue to command the center of our attention in the coming year. The powerful, majority government will brush off dissident voices and push ever-stronger economic-development narratives without seriously committing to what makes for a strong economy. Anticipating the general elections in 2021, this year will see mo re short-term, high-visibility infrastructure projects throughout the country, while larger-scale projects remain mired in central government red tape or local contestation.
National Assembly elections in early 2020 are expected to consolidate the existing government’s majority and be as uneventful as the 2019 by-elections—another loss for the opposition and any system of checks and balances. Local governments remain the worker ants of Nepal, carrying a disproportionate weight of the national prospectus. As Nepal’s two dominant neighbors, India and China, wrangle for influence in the country, nationalist political narratives will increase their hold on all parties.
Most importantly, federalism will continue to dominate the nation’s political discourse. In the absence of clear laws and policies, provincial governments remain a thing of curiosity in Nepal as they struggle against the inertia of anti-federalism to establish their own identity and value. Finally, transitional justice, one of the sticking points of the peace process, will continue to be a source of friction as conflict victims increasingly voice their anger over impunity.
Source: The Asia Foundation