South Asia :: Nepal

Introduction ::Nepal

    In 1951, the Nepali monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. An insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out in 1996. The ensuing 10-year civil war between insurgents and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king. Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a November 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution. Following a nationwide election in April 2008, the newly formed Constituent Assembly (CA) declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and abolished the monarchy at its first meeting the following month. The CA elected the country's first president in July. Between 2008 and 2011 there have been four different coalition governments, led twice by the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which received a plurality of votes in the Constituent Assembly election, and twice by the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist. In August 2011, Baburam BHATTARAI of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) became prime minister. After the CA failed to draft a constitution by the May 2012 deadline, BHATTARAI dissolved the CA and called for new elections. Months of negotiations failed to produce a new election date. Finally, in March 2013, the chief justice of Nepal's Supreme Court, Khil Raj REGMI, was sworn in as Chairman of the Interim Council of Ministers for Elections to lead an interim government and charged with holding Constituent Assembly elections by December 2013.

Geography ::Nepal

    Southern Asia, between China and India
    28 00 N, 84 00 E
    total: 147,181 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 94
    land: 143,351 sq km
    water: 3,830 sq km
    slightly larger than Arkansas
    total: 2,926 km
    border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
    Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
    lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
    highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m (highest point in Asia)
    quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
    arable land: 16%
    permanent crops: 0.8%
    other: 83.2% (2011)
    11,680 sq km (2003)
    210.2 cu km (2011)
    total: 9.5 cu km/yr (2%/0%/98%)
    per capita: 334.7 cu m/yr (2006)
    severe thunderstorms; flooding; landslides; drought and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
    deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
    landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world's tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively

People and Society ::Nepal

Government ::Nepal

    conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
    conventional short form: Nepal
    local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal
    local short form: Nepal
    federal democratic republic
    name: Kathmandu
    geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E
    time difference: UTC+5.75 (10.75 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
    1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
    Republic Day, 29 May
    15 January 2007 (interim Constitution); note - in April 2008, the Constituent Assembly (CA) was elected as an interim parliament to draft and promulgate a new constitution by May 2010; the deadline was extended four times, mostly recently until May 2012 when the CA was dissolved without completing a new constitution
    English common law and Hindu legal concepts
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Ram Baran YADAV (since 23 July 2008); Vice President Paramananda JHA (since 23 July 2008)
    head of government: note: on 14 March 2013, the chief justice of Nepal's Supreme Court, Khil Raj REGMI, was sworn in as Chairman of the Interim Council of Ministers for Elections to lead an interim government and charged with holding Constituent Assembly elections by December 2013
    cabinet: cabinet was formed in August-September 2011 by a majority coalition made up of the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic, Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Republic, Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Nepal, Terai-Madhes Democratic Party, and several smaller parties
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by Parliament; term extends until the new constitution is promulgated; president elected on 21 July 2008; date of next election NA
    election results: Ram Baran YADAV elected president by the Constituent Assembly in a second round of voting on 21 July 2008; Ram Baran YADAV 308, Ram Jaja Prasad SINGH 282
    note: in May 2012 Prime Minister Baburam BHATTARAI dissolved the previous unicameral Constituent Assembly
    unicameral Constituent Assembly (601 seats; 240 members elected by direct popular vote, 335 by proportional representation, and 26 appointed by the Cabinet (Council of Ministers)
    elections: last held on 10 April 2008; note - the Constituent Assembly failed to draft a new constitution by the 27 May 2012 deadline; as of early 2013, the parties were in negotiations to hold elections for a new Constituent Assembly
    election results: percent of vote by party - CPN-M 38%, NC 19%, CPN-UML 18%, Madhesi People's Right Forum-Nepal 9%, other 11%; seats by party - CPN-M 229, NC 115, CPN-UML 108, Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Nepal 54, Terai Madhes Democratic Party 21, other smaller parties 74; note - 26 seats filled by the new Cabinet are included in the totals above
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and up to 14 judges
    note - Nepal's judiciary was restructured under its 2007 Interim Constitution
    judge selection and term of office: the Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the prime minister on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council; other judges are appointed by the prime minister on the recommendation of the Judicial Council; judges serve until age 65
    subordinate courts: appellate and district courts
    Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekata Party [Himalaya Bhakta PRADHANGA]
    Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist Leninist or CPN-ML [C.P. MAINALI]
    Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist Leninist Samaibadi [Jaqat Bahadur BOGATI]
    Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist or CPN-M [Mohan BAIDYA, also known as KIRAN]
    Communist Party of Nepal-Unified [Raj Singh SHRIS]
    Communist Party of Nepal-United [Chandra Dev JOSHI]
    Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist or CPN-UML [Jhalanath KHANAL]
    Dalit Janajati Party [Vishwendraman PASHWAN]
    Federal Democratic National Forum [Khagendra MAKHAIM]
    Federal Democratic National Forum - Tharuhat [Rukmini CHAUDHARY]
    Federal Democratic National Party [Ravindra THING]
    Federal Socialist Party [Ashok RAI]
    Federal Sadbhayana Party [Anil JHAL]
    Janta Dal United [Biswonath Prasad AGRAWAL]
    Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic [Bijay Kumar GACHHADAR]
    Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Nepal [Upendra YADAV]
    Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Republic [Raj Kishore YADAV]
    National Madhes Socialist Party [Sharat Singh BHANDARI]
    Nepal Loktantrik Samajbadi Dal [Laxmi Lal CHAUDBARY]
    Nepal Pariwar Dal [Eknath DHAKAL]
    Nepal Workers and Peasants Party [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]
    Nepali Congress or NC [Sushil KOIRALA]
    Nepali Janata Dal [Hari Charan SAH]
    Newa Rastriya Party [Keshav Man SHAKYA]
    Rastriya Janamorcha [Chitra Bahadur K.C.]
    Rastriya Janamukti Party [Malwar Singh THAPA]
    Rastriya Janashakti Party or RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA]
    Rastriya Prajantantra Party [Pashupati Shumsher RANA]
    Rastriya Prajantantra Party Nepal [Kamal THAPA]
    Sadbhavana Party [Rajendra MAHATO]
    Sadbhavana Party-Anandi Devi [Sarita GIRI]
    Samajbadi Prajatantrik Janata Party Nepal [Prem Bahadur SINGH]
    Social Democratic Party [Chaitanya SUBBA]
    Terai Madhes Democratic Party [Mahantha THAKUR]
    Terai Madhes Democratic Party-Nepal [Mahendra YADAVI]
    Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA]
    other: small armed groups along the southern border with India; a variety of groups advocating regional autonomy for individual ethnic groups
    chief of mission: Ambassador Shankar Prasad SHARMA
    chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
    FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
    consulate(s) general: New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Peter W. BODDE
    embassy: Maharajgunj, Kathmandu
    mailing address: use embassy street address
    telephone: [977] (1) 400-7200
    FAX: [977] (1) 400-7272
    red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle displays a white 12-pointed sun; the color red represents the rhododendron (Nepal's national flower) and is a sign of victory and bravery, the blue border signifies peace and harmony; the two right triangles are a combination of two single pennons (pennants) that originally symbolized the Himalaya Mountains while their charges represented the families of the king (upper) and the prime minister, but today they are understood to denote Hinduism and Buddhism, the country's two main religions; the moon represents the serenity of the Nepalese people and the shade and cool weather in the Himalayas, while the sun depicts the heat and higher temperatures of the lower parts of Nepal; the moon and the sun are also said to express the hope that the nation will endure as long as these heavenly bodies
    note: Nepal is the only country in the world whose flag is not rectangular or square
    rhododendron blossom
    name: "Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka" (Hundreds of Flowers)

    lyrics/music: Pradeep Kumar RAI/Ambar GURUNG
    note: adopted 2007; after the abolition of the monarchy in 2006, a new anthem was required because of the previous anthem's praise for the king

Economy ::Nepal

Energy ::Nepal

Communications ::Nepal

    834,000 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    18.138 million (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile-cellular telephone network
    domestic: mobile-cellular telephone subscribership base is increasing with roughly 90% of the population living in areas covered by mobile carriers
    international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave and fiber landlines to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2011)
    state operates 2 TV stations as well as national and regional radio stations; roughly 30 independent TV channels are registered with only about half in regular operation; nearly 400 FM radio stations are licensed with roughly 300 operational (2007)
    41,256 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    577,800 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 116

Transportation ::Nepal

Military ::Nepal

Transnational Issues ::Nepal

    joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities
    refugees (country of origin): 15,0000-20,000 (Tibet/China); about 43,000 (Bhutan) (2012)
    IDPs: 50,000 (remaining from ten-year Maoist insurgency that officially ended in 2006; figure does not include people displaced since 2007 by inter-communal violence and insecurity in the Terai region) (2012)
    stateless persons: 800,000 (2011); note - in 2007-2008 the government distributed 2.6 million citizenship certificates to the 3.4 million people without one; the remaining 800,000 without citizenship certificates are not necessarily stateless, and the UNHCR is working with the Nepali Government to clarify their situation; lesser numbers of Bhutanese Hindu refugees of Nepali origin (the Lhotsampa) who were stripped of Bhutanese nationality and forced to flee their country in the late 1980s and early 1990s - and undocumented Tibetan refugees who arrived in Nepal prior to the 1990s - are considered stateless
    illicit producer of cannabis and hashish for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West