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In the News
Last Updated: 02/23/2005Democracy in Nepal?
The King of Nepal recently axed the country's democratically elected government. He blames the government's failure to deal with a growing Maoist insurgency, while international observers fear a cynical power grab. Nepali Kamala Sarup gives an overview of the situation.
King Gyanendra tried hard to avoid the declaration of the state of emergency. He asked each of the three prime ministers to form a coalition government and conduct elections and find a negotiated settlement. However, all three failed to fulfill the tasks they promised to complete. During the same period, the ongoing conflict with the Maoist rebels escalated, and now more than 5,000 people have died in the past two years alone.
The Maoist insurgency that
But even in the face of these problems, lack of proper
government leadership has been endemic. When twelve Nepalese workers were taken
hostage and killed in
abolished the Deuba-led democratic government in
Still, Gyanendra s actions will not be a final solution. When Deuba was prime minister, the Maoists said they would only negotiate with the king. But now that Gyanendra is in power, they say they will not talk to him. Obviously it is going to take time to see how things work out, yet I envision more trouble for the country and the people.
Even though the rebels have been demanding elections for a constituent assembly that would draft a new constitution aimed at establishing a communist state, it seems that the Maoists are not under any central control any more. They have turned into unruly bandits, and even if the leadership does agree to a settlement, I am afraid the armed guerrillas will not obey the leaders.
Still, the problem of peace remains, and it, I think, is a more pressing one than the reinstitution of democracy. The first priority should be to restore peace and stability throughout the country and combat organized crime and corruption. Nepalese people want peace. Without peace there is no development and there is no democracy. When there is not enough peace and food, the reconstruction and construction of roads, hospitals and schools, is simply out of the question.
Dr. Khagendra Thapa of
The bottom-line is 72% of the people are illiterate. About 75% live below poverty level. Average earning of these people is less than 65 cents a day. The actions of Maoists have caused a lot of misery to the common people. Civilian victims of the Maoists atrocities have been the poor villagers. These people were ignored by the political parties. The constant troubles caused by the political parties and the Maoists have destroyed the economy. Tourism industry is just about dead. The party fat cats and their cronies have become rich overnight. However, they tell the people it takes a lot of time to develop under democracy.
Over the last 13 years, six types of governments have
ruled the country. We are passing through a very critical phase. Economic
disparity, social injustice and rampant corruption made Nepalese people more
frustrated. In addition, social inequality stands as a major stumbling block of
economic equality. Most of the power installments are located in and around the
capital. Addressing the underlying causes of the insurgency widespread rural
poverty and the failure to spread the benefits of development more widely is
Social transformations will reduce conflicts. If the leaders and the government of
The recent political developments in
Peace can be restored in
Kamala Sarup a freelance writer and the editor of peacejournalism.com.