Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
The monarchy's ghost



In a recent Himalmedia public opinion poll, more than two-thirds of respondents in the nooks and corners of the kingdom said they wanted some form of monarchy in the country. The thousands who throng to the king when he goes walkabout in remote districts may also give us the impression that the future of the monarchy is secure.

However, it is the few hundred or thousand influential people in the capital who are close to the palace, the political leadership and the intellectuals rich and powerful who determine the direction and shake up the power structure. The levers that the international community exploits are also controlled by these people at the pinnacle of that structure.

When the king first took over in October 2002, there were only a few political personalities who were unhappy, the others celebrated and welcomed the move. By February 2005 though, these numbers were considerably reduced. Today, 15 months after the king\'s direct rule, even among those who applauded February First and October Fourth, there are now many who are now raising the slogan of loktantra.

These include not just Lokendra Bahadur Chand and Sher Bahadur Deuba but even the businessmen, bankers and social workers who put ads in the papers welcoming the king\'s takeover. Holy men, astrologers, the elderly and priests are also fed up. Through word of mouth, opinions about the king\'s obduracy are spreading throughout his kingdom. The civil service is risking all by expressing opposition openly, and some ministers in the king\'s own cabinet are voicing concern. The only people who still seem loyal to the monarch\'s roadmap are Tulsi Giri and Kamal Thapa.

So, the king\'s isolation is growing daily and as a consequence his options out of the crisis are being severely curtailed. If this situation continues another few months or a year, the future of the monarchy will not be secure.

Even at this late stage, the monarchy might save itself by abandoning its autocratic path. For that, the king has to publicly promise to the people: "The sovereignty rests with the people and we are willing to accept a role that the people determine for us." This sentence shouldn\'t be difficult to utter for a king who in February 2005 said he was willing to abide by the 1990 constitution.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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