24 July, 2021

Get Back On The Freeway

The king left Nepal's people no recourse. Budge the door to democracy open. Updates

Sandeep Adhwaryu
Get Back On The Freeway
On February 1, King Gyanendra reached into a deep freeze that had not been opened since King Mahendra ousted an elected government in 1959 with his own royal military coup d'etat. While he has not imposed a ban on political parties as his father did, Gyanendra's arguments for takeover were essentially similar: the parties had messed up badly and it was up to a monarch dedicated to the people to save the nation.

In his half-hour televised address, Gyanendra repeated his allegiance to 'multi-party democracy' 11 times. Even as he talked, however, the leadership of the mainstream political parties were being rounded up and herded into detention, where they remain today. King Gyanendra lambasted the dozen years of what he asserted was democratic misrule, but was silent on the accelerated downturn in human security and the remarkable economic decline that has occurred since October 2002. This was a period when the royal palace ruled through appointed prime ministers.

The king is now the self-appointed chairman of the Council of Ministers, a cabinet made up of what The...

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