Local polls put minority and marginalized Nepalis at the helm

Sunday 11 June, 2017   |   Political affairs

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Local polls put minority and marginalized Nepalis at the helm

Nepal's first local elections in 20 years are turning out to be a revolution.  Apart from empowering women and Dalits, it has also given a chance for minority and marginalized communities to lead municipal, village and ward councils.  

When the first phase of local elections was held in three provinces on 14 May, a small but symbolically significant number of people belonging to minority and marginalized groups were elected to major posts like Mayor/Village Chief and Deputy Mayor/Village Deputy. Others were elected as ward committee members in self-governing municipal and village councils.

Out of 283 local councils that went to the polls, people from minority and marginalized communities won main posts in 12 local councils, including two posts of Mayor. And 10 women belonging to minority and marginalized communities became Deputy Chiefs. Of the 12 minority and marginalized people who became Mayor and Village chiefs, nine are from the UML while 3 are from the NC. Of the nine women who became Deputy Chiefs, 5 are from the NC, 4 are from the UML and one from the CPN (Maoist-Centre).

Nepal's first local elections in 20 years are turning out to be a revolution.  Apart from empowering women and Dalits, it has also given a chance for minority and marginalized communities to lead municipal, village and ward councils.  

Chepangs, one of Nepal's most backward and highly marginalized ethnic communities, have not won any major posts. But as many as five Chepangs have been elected as ward committee members in Chitwan, Makwanpur and Dahding districts.

In Dolakha, people from minority communities have won two top posts and one deputy post. Tanka Jirel has been elected as Mayor of Jiri municipality. Jirels are a minority community, and are concentrated in and around Dolakha. No other Jirel has won major posts, but two more Jirels have become ward committee president and member.

Thamis are another minority community in Dolakha. Two people from this community have become Village Chief and Village Deputy Chief. Bin Kumar Thami was elected as Chair of Kalinchok village council while Urmila Thami became Deputy Chief in Gaurishankar village council.

In Ramechhap, Sher Bahadur Sunuwar and Khadga Bahadur Sunuwar have been elected as Chiefs of Umakunda and Gokulganga village councils respectively. According to Manoj Kumar Sunuwar of Democratic Kirat Sunuwar Association, a remarkable number of Sunuwars have been elected to the post of ward committee president and member in Ramechhap and Dolakha districts. In this district, Ningmar Tamang Dongba, who belongs to the minority Hyolmo community, has become ward committee president in Likhu village council.

Out of 283 local councils that went to the polls, people from minority and marginalized communities won main posts in 12 local councils, including two posts of Mayor.

In Sindhuli, Parbati Sunuwar has been elected as Fikkal village council chief. Durga Sunuwar has become Deputy Chief in Ghyanglekh village council of Sindhuli. Balkumari Danuwar and Sangita Majhi have become Deputy Mayor and Deputy Chief in Dudhauli municipality and Marin Thakur village council respectively.  

In Panchkhal municipality of Kavre, Laxmi Sunuwar became Deputy Mayor. Rojina Rai, who became Deputy Chief in Likhu village council of Nuwakot, should not be mistaken as a Kirant Rai. She belongs to the minority Danuwar community.

In Sindhupalchok, Thamis have not won major posts, but Hyolmo and Sherpas have.  Nima Gyaljen Sherma Hyolmo became Helambu village Chief while Tasi Lama Hyolmo was elected to head Pachpokhari Thangpal village council.

Nimphunjo Sherpa was the only Sherpa to win the post of Village council chief in the first phase. He won elections in Barhabise municipality.
    
Ghale and Thakali are also minority communities. They have won major posts in Manang and Mustang. Lokendra Bahadur Ghale, Kanchha Ghale and Chandra Ghale have become Presidents of Chame, Nesyang and Nasong villages respectively in Manang. Prem Ghale has been elected as Kwoholasothar village council chief in Lamjung.

In Mustang, Ash Bahadur Thakali and Buddhi Sherchan have become Village council chiefs in Gharpajhong and Thasang village councils.


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