Country Listing

Nepal Table of Contents



Government: Constitutional monarchy. Multiparty democracy established with November 1990 constitution; replaced panchayat system. First elections to bicameral legislature, Parliament, made up of House of Representatives and National Council, held May 1991. Executive powers vested in king and Council of Ministers. Prime minister appointed by king leader of political party with majority in House of Representatives.

Administrative Divisions: Fourteen zones and seventy-five districts grouped into five development zones. Following prodemocracy movement, former village panchayat renamed Village Development Committee and town panchayat renamed Municipal Development Committee. Each district headed by a chief district officer responsible for maintaining law and order and coordinating works of field agencies of different ministries.

Judiciary: Blend of Hindu and Western legal traditions. New judicial system established with 1990 constitution. Supreme Court at apex of system; fifty-four appellate courts, numerous district courts. Judicial Council monitored court system's performance, advised king and government on judicial matters and appointments.

Foreign Relations: Foreign policy focused on maintaining equidistant and friendly relations with India and China. Founding member of non-aligned movement; proposed as zone of peace in 1975; active member of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC--see Glossary) and international organizations.

Media: Approximately 400 Nepalese newspapers and periodicals in 1991. Freedom of expression constitutional right. Radio and television programming controlled by government.

Data as of September 1991