Since a decade-long civil war against a Maoist insurgency ended in 2006, democratic institutions in Nepal have developed more slowly than many observers had hoped. A devastating April 2015 earthquake has multiplied the challenges the country faces. Nepal has for several years struggled to find political consensus to draft a new constitution. The central issue blocking agreement appears to be whether a new federal structure should be based on ethnic identity, as favored by the opposition, or on economic and geographic factors, as favored by the ruling coalition. Some observers express concern that an identity-based federalist state could weaken national integrity. U.S. aid to Nepal has sought to help Nepal cement gains in peace, security and democracy, and to become more prosperous. U.S. and other international assistance now is shifting to focus on earthquake recovery.
Date of Report: 4/30/2015
Order Number: IF10216
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