4) Nepal Celebrates Renewed Peace as More Countries, Women Vote Worldwide

Nepal was transformed in 2006 by a series of dramatic events that propelled the country to the brink of peace after ten years of insurgent fighting and 13,000 dead. In April, thousands took to the streets to protest the shutting down of parliament, defying the shoot-on-sight curfews. The Maoist insurgents eager to establish a republic, seized the moment, declared a unilateral ceasefire and joined a seven-party alliance that forced the king to relinquish power. Nepal’s new cabinet dropped terrorist charges against the Maoists and called for redrawing, together, a new constitution. A peace agreement was later signed disarming the rebels in return for their joining the Democratic process.


• In other democratic developments, Kuwaitis voted in historic parliamentary elections which, for the first time, allowed women to cast ballots and stand as candidates. "It feels like a wedding day," said one Kuwaiti women on her way to the poll. Women made up 28 of the 252 candidates in the June election.

The Democratic Republic of Congo voted in its first multi-party election in 40 years this October. "Many people walked miles to get to the polling stations, and some queued overnight, waiting for them to open."

The United Arab Emirates, a Persian Gulf state that was created in 1971, took one baby step on the path to general election polling for all, holding its first election this month.

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