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Nepal's Identity Politics Conquer Its Prime Minister

Aug 1, 2016 | 09:20 GMT
Nepal's Identity Politics Conquer Its Prime Minister
Outgoing Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli leaves the parliament building in Kathmandu on July 24, the day he resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote that he was widely expected to lose.
(PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Volatility has long been a hallmark of Nepalese politics, and a new chapter of uncertainty has opened in the impoverished Himalayan nation. On July 24, Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote in the country's legislature that he was widely expected to lose. Lawmakers initiated the vote in response to allegations that Oli failed to honor the promises of the nine-point agreement signed by the country's ruling parties in May. Chief among the grievances was Oli's refusal to redraw the boundaries of the Terai lowlands, the home of Nepal's historically marginalized Madhesi ethnic group. The relationship between Oli and the Madhesi was never cordial. Madhesi activists created headaches for the prime minister by blockading Nepal's border with India for months, while Oli -- a member of the "hill" culture that has traditionally dominated Nepalese politics -- has withheld his support for shifting the lowlands' borders to increase...

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