Nepal’s current elections have become a source of hope for the country’s small, but growing, Christian population. In the past decade, Nepal has made great strides in becoming a secular state, where religious minorities like Christians are allowed to practice their faith freely. Still, there is opposition to this. Hindu nationalists parties, such as the RPP, would like to reestablish Nepal as a Hindu kingdom. Fortunately, the RPP has received few votes in the country’s current elections indicating that Nepal is moving away from Hindu nationalism and towards a country where religious freedom is the norm.
06/05/2017 Nepal (Mission Network News) – In recent history, Nepal has taken great strides to catch up with the modern world. Just a few years ago, they abolished their centuries-old Hindu Monarchy. In 2015, their new constitution declared Nepal a secular state. Right now, Nepal is in the middle of local elections. There are a couple of reasons why this is significant. As we shared previously, the last round of local elections took place 20 years ago. But on May 14th, the first local elections under the new constitution took place. The results so far suggest that Nepal is taking its new status as a secular state seriously. And yet, a strong presence of resistance towards religious minorities still exists.
Vision Beyond Borders supports the Church in Nepal through their woman, child, and pastor programs. We spoke with one of the pastors who works alongside them. He says while the second phase of local elections is supposed to take place soon, nothing is guaranteed. Two minor parties have threatened to boycott these elections, causing postponements.
The pastor explains the four major parties in Nepal. There is the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist), the Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist-Centre), and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP).
This last party wants Nepal to revert back to the Hindu Monarchy that existed before it was abolished in 2008. The other three parties, he says, are much more accepting of religious minorities like Christians.
As can be seen from the results of the first phase, the RPP is not nearly as popular as the other three major parties. However, they do still have a significant number of supporters.
That’s why this pastor says, “When we see this election from a Christian perspective, there is a challenge for every Christian in Nepal. So we need to pray for this nation. Though there are three other parties who are not against Christianity, there is a challenge, and so we must pray.”
However, he knows they cannot fully rely on politics and the government. In politics, any outcome is possible. Change can take place at any time. But what the Church can depend on, is God.
“Whatever party will be there as a ruling party, we believe that God will open a door for us for evangelism, for Christian events, and so on.”