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Major political parties of Nepal

Parties were legalised in 1990 and now operate freely in Nepal's multi-party constitutional monarchy.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 17:27 IST

The 1962 Constitution originally prohibited the formation of political parties and associations, even though political groups continued to exist.

Parties were legalised in 1990 and now operate freely in Nepal's multi-party constitutional monarchy.

Nepali Congress or NC: Led by Girija Prasad Koirala, the Nepali Congress is a reform-oriented centrist party.

After assuming office in 1959, the NC government sought to liberalise society via a democratic process. But a palace coup in 1960 led to the arrest of its prominent chieftain Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala.

Over a period of time, factionalism and external pressures weakened the party. Nevertheless it has remained the only organised party till date pressing for democracy.

Nepali Congress (Democratic): In the late 1990's a severe fractional conflict emerged in the Nepali Congress party, which led to the formation of this splinter-group.

It is led by Sher Bahadur Deuba, who has now been sentenced to imprisonment by a corruption commission established by the King.

Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist (CPN/UML): Led by Madhav Kumar Nepal, the party secured largest number of votes in last general elections. It is anti-royal and has called for establishment of a republican state.

National Democratic Party (NDP): Also known as Rastriya Prajantra Party, NDP is a right-wing pro-monarchy party, formed out of the political elite of the erstwhile Panchayat system. It has established itself as the third largest party in the Kingdom. It is led by Surya Bahadur Thapa.

National People's Front: (Rastriya Jana Morcha)

Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party or NSP: It is a pro-monarchy political party, which was founded in 1985 by Gajendra Narayan Singh. The party looks after the welfare of Madhesi community of the Terai region.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP): The pro-democracy party was was founded in 1976. Led by Narayan Man Bijukchhe, NWPP has a strong base in the Bhaktapur area.

Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal or United People's Front of Nepal: It was founded in 1991 with Dr Baburam Bhattarai as its chairman. In the 1991 elections, the party won nine seats and became the third largest force in the parliament.