A new nationwide opinion poll quantifies widespread public disillusionment with the political leadership in Kathmandu, but shows that people have formed a generally favourable impression of local governments in the past three years.
Of those polled, nearly 47% said they did not trust Prime Minister K P Oli, with the same level of distrust for Chief Ministers, MPs and federal ministers. There was even more distrust of the leaders of political parties: 60%.
When asked which was the political party most likely to work for democracy in Nepal, a full 62% said they did not know or did not want to say– an opinion that has been reflected in previous Himalmedia Public Opinion polls.
This survey was conducted by Sharecast Initiative Nepal between 21 February to 3 March, just ahead of the 7 March Supreme Court decision that dismantled the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) into the previous UML and Maoist Centre.
Asked which is the most reliable party to strengthen democracy in Nepal, the Nepali Congress scored the highest with 13.4%. The Oli faction of the NCP came second with 9.6%, and the Dahal-Nepal faction mustered only 4.1%. The JSP and RPP got less than 2%.
This result correlated with responses to another question about which party represented the interests of the people most. Here, too, the NC was slightly ahead (30%) of the CPN (Oli) 28%, CPN (Nepal-Dahal) had 11%, and the JSP 5%. Now that the NCP is divided between the UML and Maoists, the support will be scattered.
Surprisingly, the NC was ahead (17%) of the JSP (only 5%) in its own heartland of Province 2. Support for the NC is highest among the Tarai caste (19%) Meanwhile, the Oli vote bank seems to be among the Hill Dalit (7%).
However, mayors and ward chairs leave a more favourable impression. When asked which tier of government played the most significant role in improving living standards, an average of half the respondents across all seven provinces said it was local governments. Significantly, the approval of local government was lowest (33%) in Province 2.