Is Nepal’s Revolution Squeezing King Into Exile ?
Is Nepal’s Orange Revolution Squeezing King Into Exile ?
By D. Michael Van De Veer
April 30, 2006
Kathmandu, Nepal: The struggle to create a Democratic Republic in Nepal has surprised the world. People’s Power and largely peaceful nationwide demonstrations have laid the basis for Nepal to break the chains of a 208-year-old Monarchy.
Many compare the recent peoples’ victory to the “Peoples’ Power revolution” in 1968 when the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos was brought to an end in the Philippines, or the successful nonviolent “Orange Revolution”in the Ukraine in 2004.
In Kathmandu a 19-day general-strike left piles of rotting garbage lining the streets and there were serious water and food shortages, as well as LP-cooking-gas, kerosine, aircraft-fuel and medicine shortages. Each day the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations grew, and each day they were met with increased Police and Army brutality. People from every level of society, even children, were brutalized, shot with live and rubber bullets and in at least 14 cases, killed by Security Forces.
At around 5:00 p.m. last Monday the 24th of April, as an estimated 2-million Pro-Democracy demonstrators were encamped around Ring Road which encircles the Capital, the enraged Crown Prince Paras piloted the Royal helicopter around Kathmandu Valley to survey the massive crowd.
As reported by a Nepali Weekly, Jana Astha, at around 6pm.the Crown Prince stormed into the Palace and along with other Royal relatives demanded the “king hang on to power and incited the Security forces to shoot at demonstrators.”
The embattled King, faced with a bloodbath, addressed the Nation at 11:30 p.m.(April 24) on local TV and radio. In a few words the King relinquished absolute power and reinstated the parliament which had laid dormant for four years. It reportedly “took the King to nearly midnight to pacify his enraged son and send him back to his residence.”
Within hours the 7-Party Alliance (SPA) chose the ailing Congress Party leader, 84 year old G.P. Koirala, as the Prime Minister-designate.
On Friday, April 29th in the dusty parliament building at Singhadubar, the historic Parliament meeting was convened at 5:30 by Deputy Speaker Chetra Lakha Yadav. Her militant voice filled the chamber and the message from PM-Designate G.P. Koirala was met with thunderous applause.
For the 1st. Time in history there was no Crown in the Gallery Batithak and Royal-Power was replaced with People’s Power. Even with senior political leaders assuring that the Parliament is committed to the 12-Point Plan Agreement and Constituent Assembly elections, and tens-of-thousands of demonstrators demanding an end to Autocracy, the establishment of a Republic, the parliament adjourned without voting on these important matters..
A Constituent Assembly not only represents political jurisdictions but caste, class, oppressed minorities, unions, civil society groups, women and other under represented groups. In 1786 after the French Revolution, the first Constituent Assembly was formed to draft a constitution. This form of drafting a constitution was followed in 1918 when, during the October-revolution, the Russians adopted a draft-constitution. In 1946 a Constituent Assembly met in New Delhi to draft a constitution for an India. It took 165 days to complete this historical task. .
It is clear that anti-monarchy sentiment is seething and that if the Maoists are brought into the government, the King, the Crown Prince and the Royal Family who no longer enjoy the support of the government or the Nepali people will either remain in Nepal as ordinary citizens or have to seek asylum and exile.
D. Michael Van De Veer-Freelance Journalist-in Kathmandu Contributor to UnitedWeBlog-Voice of Democratic Nepal, & Pacifica’s Free Speech Radio News. Member: SAJA (South Asian Journalist Association). Host OUT OF THE BOX KKCR-FM www.kkcr.org PO Box 21218, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal