Democracy often involves conflict of interests and viewpoints of the people. An ordinary citizen can play a vital role in a democracy through pressure groups and movements that can influence decisions made by those in power.
In April 2006, Nepal witnessed a popular movement which was aimed at regaining popular control over the government from the king. Political parties joined hands and a new coalition was formed, the Seven Party Alliance (SPA).
In Bolivia the World Bank pressurized the government to give up control of municipal water supply in favour of multi nationals. The government hence sold the water rights for the city of Cochabamba to a multinational company who immediately increased the price of water by four times and people received monthly water bill of Rs 1000 in a country where average income is about Rs 5000 a month.
Mass scale protest by the people started in the country and a new alliance of labour, human rights and community leaders was formed in January 2000. The movement in Nepal was to establish democracy while in Bolivia it involved accountability of a democratically elected government.
The struggle in Nepal was about the foundation of the country’s politics whereas the movement in Bolivia was about one specific policy. Both these struggles were successful through popular movements and struggles but their impact was at different levels.