Nepalese officials, Maoists reach deal to abolish monarchy

Former insurgents end decade-long rebellion to rejoin government in forming new republic

Nepalese officials, Maoists reach deal  to abolish monarchy

Nepal's major political parties have agreed to abolish the world's last Hindu monarchy as part of a deal to bring former communist rebels back into the government, the one-time insurgents said yesterday.
While no timetable has been set for the communists to rejoin the government, the deal, signed Sunday, set the stage for Nepal's transition to a full republic less than two years after the country's king was forced to cede his near dictatorial powers following weeks of unrest.
The communists, who are known as the Maoists, ended their decade-long rebellion last year and later joined the country's interim government. But they withdrew in September, demanding the monarchy be immediately abolished. The move plunged Nepal into a political crisis and threatened its transition to democracy.
Yesterday, the former rebels were buoyant over the deal bringing them back into the fold. The deal stipulates the monarchy will be eliminated once a special assembly charged with rewriting the constitution is elected. The vote had been delayed indefinitely by the Maoists' withdrawal from the government, and officials now say they want to hold it in the first half the year.
"Now there is nothing else there needs to be done," Prachanda, the Maoist leadertold reporters. "There is no monarchy left in the country."
The current monarch, King Gyanendra, heads a dynasty that dates to 1769, when a regional ruler led an army down from the hills and conquered the ancient city of Katmandu. He established a line of kings that have been traditionally considered reincarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu, to be venerated by their subjects, over whom they once held near absolute sway.
In the centuries since, that has often been the case in Nepal, a near-feudal wonderland for hash-smoking hippies and mountain climbers looking to scale Himalayan peaks, such as Mount Everest.
But Gyanendra, the 12th Shah dynasty monarch, has never enjoyed the popularity of his predecessors and Sunday's deal to eliminate the throne was received largely with indifference in Katmandu. "Before kings were part of people's heart," said Mata Pasad Risal, 60, a retired government official. "Now people have turned against him. The king has lost his position and popularity it will be best for him to leave the palace."

Updated : 2021-04-17 11:07 GMT+08:00