Monday, March 15, 2010

Nepal: Corruption Timeline

April 1990 — Pro-democracy rallies coordinated by the Nepali Congress Party (NCP), Nepal's oldest and largest political party, and leftist groups are violently suppressed by security forces. King Birendra eventually succumbs to public pressure and agrees to a new democratic constitution.

May 1991 — The NCP wins the first democratic elections. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes prime minister.

July 1994 — Koirala's government loses a parliamentary no-confidence vote. New elections in November lead to the formation of a communist government led by the United Nepal Communist Party (UNCP).

September 1995 — Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari's communist government is ousted on a no-confidence vote. Sher Bahadur Deuba, leader of the NCP, becomes prime minister.

March 1997 — Prime Minister Deuba resigns after seven ministers quit and his coalition government loses a no-confidence vote. A new coalition government is formed, led by the small right-wing, pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP). Lokendra Bahadur Chand is named prime minister. In October, the RPP splits into two factions, and the leader of one faction, Surya Bahadur Thapa, replaces Chand as prime minister. Chand goes on to form the New Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (NRPP).

April 1998 — Thapa resigns and is replaced by NCP leader Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, who pledges to tackle a Maoist insurgency that has killed over 1,000 people since it began in 1996.

February 2000 — Nepal sees its ninth government in 10 years when Prime Minister Bhattarai and five other ministers resign and Girija Prasad Koirala once again becomes prime minister.

March — April 2001 — Opposition legislators block parliamentary business, calling for Koirala to step down. Koirala is accused of improperly benefiting from a controversial aircraft lease deal and other alleged ethical lapses.

June 2001 — Prince Gyanendra is crowned King of Nepal after Crown Prince Dipendra kills his parents, King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya, and seven other royals in a drunken shooting spree. Dipendra is wounded during the attack and dies three days later. Official accounts of an "accident" spark riots in Kathmandu.

July 2001 — Admitting his inability to suppress the worsening Maoist uprising, Prime Minster Koirala resigns. Sher Bahadur Deuba is elected to replace him.

November 2001 — The government declares a state of emergency after Maoist guerrillas break a four-month cease-fire and stage an attack on police and military posts that leaves up to 100 people dead. In February 2002, the government extends the state of emergency following more guerrilla raids.

May 2002 — Prime Minister Deuba dissolves the lower house of Parliament and calls for new elections. In retaliation, the NCP suspends him from the party.

August 2002 — The Corruption Control Act is created as an amendment to the CIAA Act of 1991. Its purported function is to prevent anyone involved in a corruption scandal from participating in Congress, yet in practice it has yet to be fully implemented.

October 2002 — King Gyanendra dismisses Deuba. It is the first time since 1990 that a Nepali king has assumed direct power. He appoints Lokendra Bahadur Chand as interim prime minister and appoints 13 new cabinet ministers the following month.

June 2003 — After Prime Minister Chand resigns at the end of May, King Gyanendra replaces him with Surya Bahadur Thapa.

December 2003 — The army admits to using excessive force in fighting the Maoist rebels and pledges to punish human rights abusers in its ranks and compensate the victims. More than 8,000 people have been killed since the uprising to overthrow the monarchy began in 1996.

April 2004 — Nepal joins the World Trade Organization (WTO).

May 2004 — Prime Minister Thapa resigns. King Gyanendra replaces him with Sher Bahadur Deuba, the man he had sacked from the post in 2002 for his purported incompetence.

February 2005 — King Gyanendra dismisses Deuba and his government, declares a state of emergency and assumes absolute power, citing the worsening Maoist insurgency. In April, Amnesty International reports that since King Gyanendra's takeover more than 3,000 people have been jailed on political grounds, and many have been allegedly tortured.

April 2005 — King Gyanendra ends the state of emergency but keeps in place many restrictions on the press and civil liberties.

July 2005 — The Royal Commission on Corruption Control (RCCC) convicts former Prime Minister Deuba for corruption relating to a drinking water supply project, and sentences him to two years in jail. He is freed in February 2006 after the commission, which had been set up by King Gyanendra after he seized absolute power in February, is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

September 2005 — After the Maoist rebels announce a unilateral cease-fire, Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, announces that local elections will be held in April 2006 and parliamentary elections will be held by April 2008.

November 2005 — The Maoist rebels and the main opposition parties reach a basic agreement to work together against the monarchy.

The government shuts down Radio Sagarmatha, the oldest private radio station in South Asia, and arrests five staff members after the station broadcasts an interview with one of the top leaders of the Maoist rebels.

April 2006 — After weeks of strikes and popular protests, King Gyanendra reinstates Parliament, which then votes to curb the monarch's powers. King Gyanendra appoints Girija Prasad Koirala as prime minister.

May 2006 — The government eases some of the press restrictions imposed by King Gyanendra when he seized absolute power in February 2005. The government and Maoist rebels begin peace talks for the first time in nearly three years.

June 2006 — Through the newly-created Public Account Committee (PAC), Parliament asks King Gyanendra to disclose information about the property, bank accounts and other assets held by him and his family. The same request is made of Prime Minister Koirala and his 19 ministers. In July, two of the king's former ministers, Tanka Dhakal and Shrish Shumsher Rana, admit to PAC members they gave money to journalists and media groups.

Jan. 15, 2007 — Maoist leaders enter Parliament under the terms of a temporary constitution, included in a deal ending 10 years of war. Under the interim constitution, the Maoists have about a quarter of Parliament's 330 seats. The constitution also transfers executive powers of the head of state from the king to the prime minister. The former Maoist rebels formally join the interim government entering the political mainstream in April.

May 2007 — A committee to investigate issues involving excessive use of force by the former government is created; the Commission to Investigate the Wrong-doings of the Royal Government is headed by former Supreme Court judge K.J. Rayamajhi.

June 2007 — Two newspapers in Kathmandu, Nepal Samacharpatra and Mahangar, suspend publication in response to pressure, including death threats, from a Maoist party-affiliated trade union, the All Nepal Communication, Press and Publications Trade Union.

Private publishing house Kamana Prakashan Samuha stopped publication of these two newspapers after distributors made death-threats against the management if they not unionize Nepal Samacharpatra. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Nepalese journalists claim the trade union action appears to be aimed at influencing coverage of Maoists.

September 2007 — The BBC reports, "Three bombs hit Kathmandu in the first attack in the capital since the end of the Maoist insurgency. Maoists quit interim government to press demand for monarchy to be scrapped. This forces the postponement of November's constituent assembly elections."

December 2007 — As part of a peace deal with the Maoists, parliament approves the abolition of the monarchy. In response, the Maoists agree to rejoin the government.

March 2008 — The BBC reports, "Nepal's Supreme Court found Bijaya Nath Bhattarai, governor of the central bank of Nepal, guilty of malpractice in relation to contracts for foreign consultants hired to help the bank. Mr Bhattarai and another bank official, Surendra Man Pradhan, were each fined about $50,000. Both officials have been dismissed from their jobs, but will not be sent to prison, according to reports."

More than 400 people are arrested as authorities suppress peaceful demonstrations against Chinese human rights abuses in Tibet. Amnesty International claims that "Nepal is sending a message of no-tolerance of dissent by arresting peaceful demonstrators." Amnesty also emphasizes that this is the latest in a series of clampdowns on peaceful demonstrations as elections approach.

April 2008 — While the former Maoist rebels aren't able to win an outright majority in the new constituent assembly, they win the largest bloc of seats in the assembly.

A Constituent Assembly is formed, charged with the task of creating a new constitution by 2010. The following month, this body votes to become a federal democratic republic, abolishing the country's monarchy.

May 2008 — Nepal becomes a republic.

June 2008 — After a dispute over who should assume the position of head of state, Maoist ministers resign from the government.

July 2008 — Ram Baran Yadav becomes Nepal's first President. Political instability ensues as Maoists had backed a rival candidate. Maoist leader Prachanda states that his party will oppose the new government.

August 2008 — A coalition government is formed with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda of the CPN-M (Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist), at its head as the Prime Minister. The coalition consists of the largest parties, CPN-M, Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML), and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF).

December 2008 — Increasing violence against journalists causes the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) to call on all reporters to join anti-government protests. The protests end when the government consents to sign an agreement with FNJ promising to look into the alleged violent incidents.

May 2009 — The army chief, General Rookmangud Katawal, refuses to integrate former Maoist guerillas into the Nepalese army. Prime Minister Prachanda calls for the resignation of Katawal. Once the President (Ram Baran Yadav) overrules his decision, Prachanda resigns from his post as prime minister. The Maoists are no longer a part of the coalition government.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, a former CPN-UML leader, is elected prime minister

June 2009 — The Youth Communist League (YCL), affiliated with the Maoists, accuses affiliates of the UML of killing one of their leaders. Chaos follows the accusations, with the YLC retaliating by torching the UML headquarters in Manma and injuring 15 UML cadres.

Source: Global Integrity Report

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