Back to square one
Back in 2003 during a ceasefire, Surya Bahadur Thapa of RPP was made prime minister for the fifth time by king Gyanendra while the NC and UML threatened to take to the streets. This was before the peace talks ultimately failed and the Maoist insurgency raged for a few more years and killed another 8,000 Nepalis. King Gyanendra staged a coup in 2005, consequently paving the way for the 2006 Peace Accord.
Excerpts from editorial published 20 years ago this week on issue #148 6-12 June 2003:
Every time history brings us to a fork on the road, our leaders have this extraordinary capacity to take the wrong turn. We then meander all over the place to come back to where we started.
Here we go again. The king, country, parties, and all of us have gone back to October Fourth. Once more we were taken through an excruciating search for a prime minister acceptable to all, or at least one against whom no one has any violent objections. No mean feat, considering that last time the only person who footed the bill was Mr Caretaker himself, Lokendra Bahadur Chand.
And finally, we have fifth-time premier Surya Bahadur Thapa. If only he had agreed in October maybe we would have been prevented a lot of national heartburn, and not wasted months experimenting with this and that.
The UML has lost face, and can be expected to pour its fury out on the streets in the coming days. The NC was torn by severe internal criticism of Girija Prasad Koirala’s embrace of Madhav Nepal and will be more subdued.
We are back to square one, but not to 4 October 2002. We are back to May 1990, when the first kangresi-communist interim government was formed after the Peoples’ Movement. In terms of the evolution of democracy we have returned 13 years to a time when a new polity was being crafted.
From archive material of Nepali Times of the past 20 years, site search: www.nepalitimes.com