Nepal: End to Hated Monarchy
On June 11, King Gyanendra left Nepal's royal palace for the last time. He was forced out of power by a powerful revolutionary movement. A new Nepali government is now being formed through a Constituent Assembly, led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
Gyanendra's fall from power ends a 240-year-old dynasty of self-proclaimed ‘god-kings,’ and brings to an end the last Hindu monarchy in the world. King Gyanendra had the backing of the U.S. and India, Nepal's powerful neighbor which has often meddled in Nepali politics. But that wasn't enough to prop him up in the face of massive and well-organized popular opposition.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) waged a ten-year guerrilla war from 1996 to 2006, establishing popular support among the deeply impoverished people and exercising control over most of the countryside. Then in 2006, a popular uprising in the capital, Kathmandu, nearly shook the king from power. That set in motion a process that led to this year's Constituent Assembly elections to create a new constitution and government.
After months of delays from the more conservative parties, the Constituent Assembly elections were held in April. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won in a landslide over the pro-establishment Congress Party and CP-UML.
At its first meeting on May 28, the Constituent Assembly's first order of business was a 560 to 4 vote to officially end the monarchy and declare Nepal a Federal Republic. CPN(M) leaders gave the king a month to leave the palace and announced the palace would be turned into a museum. Massive crowds of people filled the streets to celebrate.
Even though they were badly defeated, the more conservative parties are still resisting change and impeding the formation of a CPN(M)-led government. Former Prime Minister Koirala of the Congress Party is inexplicably clinging to his position, demanding to be the new president or prime minister even though his party was badly beaten in the Constituent Assembly election.
Despite such repeated obstacles thrown up by conservative forces, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has continued to push the revolutionary process forward with popular support.