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World

AFP
December 6, 2017

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Astrologers hold sway over Nepal’s political leaders

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s prime minister is confident his party will win a general election being held this month -- because his astrologer told him.
In deeply superstitious Nepal, astrologers hold enormous sway in political circles and the seers have been busy ahead of a general election that could herald change after more than two decades of turbulence in the Himalayan nation.
Leaders regularly consult the stars for guidance on a range of matters from the most auspicious moment to hold elections to the challenge posed by a rival, anything that might give them an edge in this hotly-contested poll.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has been in regular contact with his fortune teller ahead of the historic vote, the final step of a drawn-out peace process which began in 2006 with the close end of bloody civil war.
Deuba was told he would be prime minister seven times -- he is currently on his fourth term -- and boldly claimed his party would win in response to taunts from opposition leader K.P. Oli. But Deuba’s Nepali Congress faces a tough challenge in the polls from Oli’s Communist CNP-UML party, which has formed an alliance with the main Maoist party that will be tough to beat.
Deuba’s astrologer, Angiras Neupane, said that according to Deuba’s birth chart -- calculated on the date, time and location of his birth -- he would serve at least one more term in top office. But he told AFP that it wouldn’t necessarily be the next one.
He predicted that Oli would in fact be the next prime minister but that his coalition would quickly crumble, allowing Deuba to retake the reins. "There will be instability in the country yet again," Neupane told AFP at his home in a village on the edge of Kathmandu.
That is hardly welcome news in Nepal, which has endured a tumultuous transition from monarchy to democracy. In the last 27 years, Nepal has had 26 prime ministers, suffered a brutal Maoist insurgency and ousted an unpopular monarchy. There was

also a devastating earthquake in 2015.

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