January 31, 2014, by Katharine Adeney

Ethno federalism in Nepal?

Dr Mara Malagodi came to talk to the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies (IAPS) on the 30th January 2014.

Dr Malagodi was speaking on the topic of The Making of New Nepal? State Restructuring, Identity Politics and the Constitutional Impasse. 

Her talk focused on explaining why waiting for federalism in Nepal was like ‘waiting for Godot’.  Demands from those demanding ethnic recognition in Nepal have grown since the democratisation of the state, now that they have the chance to express their voice. Inserted into the interim constitution in 2007, the form of the federal system has been hotly debated in Nepal, between those who want a large number of units defined along ethnic lines, to those who want a more administrative division of the state and a smaller number of units. She pointed to the extreme diversity of Nepal.

Screenshot 2014-01-31 16.59.50

The failure to agree on the federal form has been one of the main reasons for the failure to finalise a constitution in Nepal.  She discussed the November 2013 elections – noting the incredibly high turnout of 77 per cent, which led to a large reduction of seats for the Maoists, one of the prime movers in favour of ethno-federalism.  She argued that the success of the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal meant that ethno-federalism was now less likely to be implemented.

The audio file of her talk will be posted shortly on the IAPS website.

Dr Malagodi is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, Department of Law.  She is the author of Constitutional nationalism and Legal Exclusion – Equality, Identity Politics and Democracy in Nepal (1990-2007) Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2013.

Posted in AsiaFederalismIdentity politicsNepalUncategorized