Kathmandu, Nepal – Like the changing of the seasons or the wheel of Samsara, politics here in the world’s highest country seem to be somewhat circular in nature. As polls opened on Tuesday morning for the first time since 2008, it was with a hint of deja vu.
Once again, ballot boxes were placed across this small, densely populated nation straddling the Himalayas, sat between the Asian superpowers of India and China. For the second time in recent memory, Nepalis rose to vote for a new body to draft a new constitution. The last Constituent Assembly was dissolved in May 2012 after failing to complete the charter.
Nepal has seen a new government in almost every one of the past seven years, since a popular uprising brought an end to the royal Shah dynasty’s rule, and simultaneously ended a decade-long civil war.
Here in the nation’s capital, Kathmandu, polling stations operated under heavy government security. Squads of soldiers patrolled the near-empty streets, and vehicles were banned throughout the day.
In the morning, a bomb exploded in central Kathmandu, injuring three children.
Opposition parties called for a bhanda, or strike, for the ten days leading up to election. Most citizens, however, refused to comply, and the attempt to disrupt the election was unsuccessful.
Tomorrow the sun will come up again, albeit on busier streets. Election authorities will begin counting ballots. The people of Nepal will wait to find out who, for the second time, will be responsible for drafting their constitution.