Nepal's pro-China communists form united front amid uncertainty

Oct. 10 (UPI) — A reshuffling of political parties in Nepal is revealing the depth of China’s growing economic and political influence in the country.

The new alliance of Nepal’s communist parties, all with a “really good relationship with China,” was formed on Oct. 3, leaving Nepal’s congress in turn to create a right-wing coalition in a “democratic alliance,” The South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

The Unified Marxist-Leninists, the Maoist Center and the smaller Naya Shakti party are forming a single communist bloc at a time when China is showing signs of increased engagement with Kathmandu, according to the report.

“Everything that’s happening…all the political developments in Nepal are always connected to India and China,” said Pramod Jaiswal, a visiting research fellow at the New Delhi-based think tank Institution of Peace and Conflict Studies. “On economic issues, [the communist parties] feel that China can give them more.”

The united front among Nepal’s communists follows a period of continued political uncertainty in the Himalayas.

Kathmandu has already seen the departure of four prime ministers since a new constitution was adopted in September 2015.

Nepal is scheduled hold provincial elections on Nov. 26, and a federal poll on Dec. 5.

The country has signed a major deal with Beijing that would allow a railroad to connect China and Nepal through Tibet.

Such projects can slowly diminish India’s influence in the region, according to the Post.

Beijing has also funded elections in Nepal, sending $1 million for local polls.

“China has a very positive image in Nepal,” said a law expert at Kathmandu University.

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