The Carter Center observed as Nepal conducted a constituent assembly election in 2013 as part of a long-delayed effort to draft a new constitution. A constituent assembly elected in 2008 was dissolved in 2012 after failing to agree on a constitutional plan. The Center's work there began with efforts to mediate civil conflict in Nepal in 2004.
Beginning in 2004, Carter Center staff members met with royal and government officials and representatives from other national organizations to discuss possible solutions to the civil conflict and avenues of mediation. The Carter Center held several rounds of conflict resolution training for political party representatives and civil society leaders, held bridge-building sessions with Maoist representatives in Nepal, and worked in broad cooperation and coordination with international organizations engaged there.
The Center's sustained engagement eventually transformed into a democracy-focused project as Nepal's internal political dynamics changed.
The Carter Center in June 2009 by deployed international and national observers around the country to monitor the peace and constitution drafting processes and provide impartial information on progress in these areas to political and civil society leaders.
Observers were deployed in teams of three (two internationals and one national) to each of the five development regions, where they follow topics related to marginalized groups' activities and participation in the peace process, political space at the local level, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the security environment. Teams met with and interviewed local officials in their districts as well as civil society leaders and local citizens. The information they gathered was compiled into more than 20 public reports, which were widely distributed at the local, district, and national level, and reported on in local and international media. The Center also engaged with national and local political leaders to address political solutions.
Over the course of the project, The Carter Center issued more than 20 public reports on issues including security, federalism, identity-based politics, voter registration, and land ownership, among others. View all reports >
The Carter Center observed Nepal's Nov. 19, 2013 constituent assembly election, a long-delayed vote to replace the assembly that was dissolved in May 2012 after failing to draft a new constitution. The Carter Center found that the election was conducted remarkably well, especially in the face of attempts by boycotting parties to disrupt the process through violence. The Election Commission of Nepal estimated the voter turnout at more than 70 percent.
The Center's mission was led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai. Twelve long-term observers from eight countries were deployed throughout the country in September to assess election preparations. On election day, 66 Carter Center observers from 31 countries visited 336 polling centers in 31 districts to observe voting and 31 counting centers. The Center's observers assessed the conclusion of counting and vote tabulation, and remained in Nepal to observe the resolution of complaints and the post-election environment.
Working to build peace in Nepal since 2003, the Center observed the country's first constituent assembly elections in 2008, and then conducted long-term political and constitutional monitoring until June 2013.
After years of political wrangling, Nepal adopted a new constitution in September 2015.
After a decade-long conflict, a comprehensive peace agreement between the government of Nepal and Maoist rebel leaders called for the creation of an interim constitution, monitoring of the arms and armies of the state and the Maoists by the United Nations, establishment of an interim transitional assembly and government that included the Maoists, and an election to form a constituent assembly. After two postponements, the constituent assembly election was held on April 10, 2008. The main task of the elected constituent assembly was to complete the writing of a new constitution. After failing to do so, the body was dissolved on May 28, 2012.
In countries emerging from long-term conflicts, a strong international observer presence has the capability to build confidence in the electoral process and, if necessary and appropriate, help mediate acceptance of credible election results.
The Carter Center launched an international election observation mission in Nepal with the deployment of 13 long-term observers in all regions of the country on March 9, 2007. Despite two election date postponements, the Center maintained its observation presence in the country throughout the entire electoral process to continually monitor and report on the evolving political situation. The Carter Center issued several statements to share its assessment and to offer recommendations on preparations for the election.
The Center deployed a larger, short-term delegation of 62 observers from more than 20 countries to observe the April 10, 2008, constituent assembly election. Despite worries caused by a pre-electoral period marred by incidents of violence, Carter Center observers found that on election day, the majority of Nepali voters participated in a remarkable and relatively peaceful constituent assembly election with the overall election administration being well-executed.
The Carter Center's long-term observers remained in Nepal for the postelection period.
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Size: 147,181 square kilometers
Population: 31,551,305 (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: 25 percent
Life expectancy: 68 years
Ethnic groups: Chhettri, Brahman-Hill, Magar, Tharu, Tamang, Newar, Muslim, Kami, Yadav, Rai, Gurung, Damai/Dholii, Thakuri, Limbu, Sarki, Teli, Chamar/Harijan/Ram, Koiri/Kushwaha, other
Religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Kirant, other
Languages: Nepali (official), Maithali, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Tamang, Newar, Magar, Bajjika, Urdu, Avadhi, Limbu, Gurung, other, unspecified
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016