March 2023 | Ram Chandra Paudel elected as new president
On 9 March, Nepal’s members of parliament and provincial assemblies voted to elect Nepali Congress (NC) party leader Ram Chandra Paudel as the country’s new president. The move follows Nepal’s national election held in November 2022, which delivered a hung parliament and a fragile coalition government. Paudel’s appointment aligns with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s power-sharing decision to support NC’s candidate over his initial Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist coalition partner. Analysts have noted this “marks a return to the pre-poll alliance of 2022.”
November 2022 | General elections return hung parliament
On 20 November, the Nepali general election returned a hung parliament that analysts say means a continuation of the political instability that has led Nepal to have thirty governments in the past thirty years. The ruling Nepali Congress and the opposition Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist received the most and second-most votes, respectively, but neither has a large enough mandate to govern without gaining the support of several coalition parties. The election day and campaign were mostly peaceful, but some minor irregularities were reported. The campaign was criticized for a lack of choice and representation of marginalized groups, and voter turnout was the lowest since 2008.
September 2022 | President blocks amendment to citizenship act
President Bidya Devi Bhandari refused to ratify proposed amendments to a Citizenship Bill passed by parliament for the second time, despite lacking constitutional grounds to do so, raising fears of a constitutional crisis. The bill provides access to citizenship and voting rights to 500,000 stateless and foreign Nepalis who are currently denied it, such as children with unknown parentage, and has been a hotly contested political issue for several years. The case is now before the Supreme Court.