Consolidating Democracy in Nepal through Transparent Campaign Finance

February 09, 2016
03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

About the Event

Nepal’s democracy has struggled to deliver since its 2006 People’s Movement, which ended the decade long civil war and established Nepal as a republic. Plagued by corruption, nepotism, and an inability to execute basic duties of governance, the country’s leading political parties have often found themselves in a crisis of public trust that has strengthened the hand of ‘radical political parties and royalist forces seeking to destabilize the state. During elections, the widespread practice of campaign spending at levels far exceeding legal limits through donations from undisclosed contributors has fueled popular frustration. Furthermore, this practice has distorted representative democracy through the sale of political office, thereby making financiers rather than ordinary citizens the key beneficiaries of the electoral process. In his presentation, Tilak Pathak explained why campaign finance must be reformed in order to consolidate democracy in Nepal. Drawing from case studies gathered throughout his career in journalism, he traced the money behind Nepal’s elections and proposed effective mechanisms that can help provide greater transparency and accountability. His presentation was followed by comments with Ivan Doherty. 


Tilak Pathak, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

with comments by

Ivan Doherty, National Democratic Institute

moderated by

Sally Blair, International Forum for Democratic Studies 

1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004

About the Speakers

Mr. Tilak Pathak is an op-ed editor and analyst at Kantipur Daily, Nepal’s largest Nepali-language daily newspaper. He is also chair of the Center for Media Research, a Kathmandu-based think tank that conducts research and training related to media. He is also a lecturer on politics and the media at several Nepali universities. From 2013 to 2015 he served as political editor at Nagarik Daily, the country’s second-largest Nepali-language newspaper. He has co-authored two books in Nepali, Constituent Assembly Members on Federalism (2014) and Media Reader (2013), and published articles on media, political parties, constitution writing, and the peace process. During Nepal’s 2005 coup, Mr. Pathak co-founded “United We Blog,” a site that provided vital political information to the public during the country’s media shutdown. For his incisive reporting, he was named Best Reporter in 2005 by Kantipur Publications. During his fellowship, Mr. Pathak is writing a journal article on campaign finance reform and the need for financial transparency in Nepal’s political parties, comparing Nepali practices with policies enacted in the United States, United Kingdom, and South Asia.

Mr. Ivan Doherty is senior associate and director of political party programs at the National Democratic Institute.