2 September 2022

Triumph for Independent Candidates?


Observations on the 2022 Local Elections in Nepal

Nepal's recent local elections, held in May 2022 in 753 urban and rural municipalities, produced a number of surprises. Most prominent in national headlines was the victory of independent candidate and former rap musician Balen Shah in the race for mayor of Kathmandu, Nepal's capital. But is the success of Shah and several other independent candidates really a signal of a broader shift away from the dominance of traditional parties in Nepal, or were these just isolated events? What do the results tell us about the persistence of vote bank culture in Nepal? How did female candidates fare in the elections? And what are the political aspirations of Kathmandu’s new mayor? Nayan Pokhrel, a Kathmandu-based political analyst, discusses with Hanna Geschewski the election results and how they fit into larger political transitions in the young Federal Republic.

Nayan Pokhrel is an independent researcher and political analyst. His recent assignments include monitoring of the implementation of federalism in Nepal with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and political economy analysis of Nepal's elections with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). He previously led research and observation at Democracy Resource Center Nepal which has been monitoring Nepal's political transition and settlement since the adoption of the new Constitution in 2015.

Hanna Geschewski is a PhD researcher in Human Geography at the Chr. Michelsen Institute and the University of Bergen in Norway, focusing on socio-ecological adaptation processes in Tibetan refugee settlements in Karnataka, India.