Just Another Guy with Opinions

Nepal Abolishes Monarchy

Posted by shadmia on May 31, 2008

By 560 to 4 Nepalese lawmakers voted to abolish the nation’s 240-year-old monarchy. It was a stunning victory for the Maoists who fought a 10-year insurgency before disarming under a November 2006 peace accord to become part of Nepal’s interim government. They won the most seats in elections held last month and plan to form a coalition government.

The 61-year-old King Gyanendra has been given 15 days to vacate the palace. The royal flag was lowered at the Narayanhiti palace in the capital, Kathmandu, and replaced by the national flag.

King Gyanendra’s security can’t be guaranteed if he refuses to leave the palace and live as a “common citizen,” the Communist Party of Nepal said.

The Constituent Assembly has directed the government to “take necessary measures” to vacate the king from the palace in 15 days, Jhala Nath Khanal, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) said in an interview from Kathmandu. “I hope he has made up his mind to do so.”

The interim administration said he must pay taxes, place the army under civilian control and remove his image from the 500-rupee note, replacing it with Mount Everest.

King Gyanendra is the last king in the Shah dynasty which began in 1768 when King Prithivi Narayan Shah unified the country that was divided into principalities. He took control of Kathmandu city and drove the Malla rulers from the surrounding valley.

Gyanendra became king in June 2001, after his brother Birendra and close relatives were killed by Crown Prince Dipendra, who then shot himself. The king lost most of his powers in 2006 when he was forced by nationwide strikes to end more than a year of absolute rule and allow the return of a civilian government.

My dream has come true,” Nepal’s interim Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala told lawmakers as the assembly met for the first time, according to the UN. “Nepal is entering a new era by overcoming all the difficulties and we have to maintain unity and collaboration between the parties.”

Nepal, the world’s newest republic, is among the world’s poorest countries, according to the U.S. government. One-third of its citizens live below the poverty line and per capita gross domestic product is about $1,100. About 80 percent of Nepal’s population of 26.4 million people is Hindu.

Nepal’s three biggest political parties, holding 433 seats in the 601- member parliament, and four other smaller parties agreed to replace the monarchy with a ceremonial president, with most authority concentrated in the prime minister’s office. There is still much work that has to be done. Talks are going on amongst the political parties to choose a candidate for president and prime minister.

Jhala Nath Khanal, general secretary of the CPN-UML said:

“The Maoists will lead the coalition government as they are the single largest party. The powers or the rights for the president are yet to be decided”. He also added “I do not think the president and prime minister will be from the same party. The method for electing the president has also to be agreed upon by the parties. The process will be completed within two weeks.”

The Maoists won 220 seats in the April 10 ballot. The Nepali Congress, the nation’s oldest political party, won 110 seats, while the CPN-UML secured 103 and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, representing the Tarai region bordering India, won 52. Maoist leader Prachanda says he wants all parties that won seats, including ethnic groups, to join a “consensus government.”

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One Response to “Nepal Abolishes Monarchy”

  1. Herald said

    Instead of a comment of my own, let me cite Comrade Narayan Man Bijukche, Rohit, president of the Bhaktapur District based Nepal Workers Peasant’s party: “The continuous wrangling between the parties in the alliances would certainly clear the way for the restoration of monarchy in Nepal. The end of the Monarchy is limited to papers only and to the verbal remarks made by some leaders…the declaration of a republic must come into practice both in letter and spirit. The monarchy remains alive in different forms and shades …”

    And I add: LONG LIVE THE KING!!!

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