-  Sunday 20 September 2020

    All the king's men want to contest Nepal election

     -  IANS

    Aug 27 2007 - Faced with an election in less then three months when voters will choose between monarchy and a republic, royalists have finally began to fight back, wanting to contest the polls and thereby strike a blow for the crown in Nepal's apex court.

    A group of former royalist ministers and officials have challenged the new election act, which debars many of them from taking part in the crucial constituent assembly election Nov 22.

    Former home minister Kamala Thapa, who is credited with ordering the use of excessive force during the last days of the king's government that resulted in the death of 25 unarmed protesters, and former information and communications minister Tanka Dhakal led a group of peers to file a petition in the Supreme Court Sunday.

    The royalists are asking the court to allow them to contest the election and have charged parliament and its speaker Subhash Nembang of violating constitutional provisions by debarring them.

    After a public uprising forced King Gyanendra to step down as head of government last year, the seven-party opposition coalition that came to power formed a commission to bring to justice the royalists who had abetted the 15-month regime.

    The Rayamajhi Commission found over 200 people guilty and recommended that they be debarred from contesting the election.

    However, the commission lost much of its credibility and significance after the new government failed to take action against most of the indicted royalists, including King Gyanendra himself.

    The king's men are now challenging the election provision, saying that the commission was just an enquiry panel that has no right to stop them from fighting the polls - a fundamental right given to them by the constitution.

    The court verdict is being awaited with bated breath by the king's men and the parties alike.

    In the past, the court's verdicts often went against the government's actions. After the ouster of King Gyanendra, when the new government imprisoned several royalist ministers, the court ordered the state to release them.

    Though holding the election was a long-standing demand of the Maoists, presently the royalists seem to be more prepared for the exercise than the ruling parties.

    At least 10 pro-king parties have registered with the Election Commission to contest the election and opinion polls indicate there is still considerable public support for the institution of monarchy, if not for King Gyanendra himself.

    Royalists have already started a dogged campaign to save the crown, braving attacks on their rallies by the Maoists, and claim they will win a sizeable percentage of votes if the election is free and fair.

    Source : IANS
    © FRANCE NEPAL info

    Other articles by reporter IANS

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