Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

End to Nepal’s Monarchy?

Posted by Rosa Harris on December 24, 2007

Under great pressure the government parties of Nepal have apparently agreed to end the monarchy and institute a republic. This comes after the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) had withdrawn from the government three months ago, and there was great speculation that they may restart the armed struggle (in the form of protracted peoples war or a final insurrection.)

I will comment on these developments elsewhere, but for now here is a news report from the NYT

* * * * *

December 24, 2007

Nepal to End Its Monarchy in a Deal With Ex-Rebels

KATMANDU, Nepal (Reuters) — Nepal’s government agreed Sunday to abolish the centuries-old monarchy in a political deal with Maoist former rebels, but the decision will go into effect only after next year’s elections, party officials said.Three months ago, the anti-monarchy Maoists, who ended their decade-long civil war last year, left the government. They were demanding an immediate declaration of a republic, a step that indefinitely delayed a constituent assembly election that had been set for November.That election, Nepal’s first national vote since 1999, was intended to map the country’s political future, including that of the monarchy, and was expected to cap the landmark 2006 peace agreement that ended a conflict that caused 13,000 deaths.

Government leaders met with the former rebel chief, known by his nom de guerre, Prachanda, but whose real name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to break the deadlock.

“Nepal will be a Federal Democratic Republic nation,” the six-party governing alliance and the Maoists said in a statement. “And the decision will be implemented after the first meeting of the constituent assembly.”

“But if the king creates serious hurdles to the constituent assembly elections,” the statement added, a two-thirds majority of the interim Parliament “can remove the monarchy even before the polls.”

The popularity of King Gyanendra plunged when he ousted the government and assumed absolute powers in 2005, only to yield control after weeks of protest last year. The monarch has traditionally been viewed in Nepal as an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

The twice-delayed elections will now be held within the Nepali year, which ends on April 12, and the Maoists will rejoin the government, said Arjun Narsingh K. C., a spokesman for the Nepali Congress Party, the country’s biggest political party.

Thousands of Maoist former fighters have been confined to United Nations-monitored camps since last year after the government agreed to hold the elections. The government will also begin the process of integrating the former fighters and pay their wages regularly, the statement said.

In return, the Maoists will hand back the property and land seized during the conflict. But mainstream political parties say the Maoists are still extorting money and intimidating political workers.

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