-  Saturday 24 October 2020

King in a corner as Nepal parties agree on republic

 -  Times of India

Sept 29 2007 - First, an ancient stone idol began to "perspire" in a temple in the remote north, a phenomenon believed to bode ill for Nepal's royal family. Then Gyanendra was barred from a traditional festival this week and failed to receive the blessings of Kumari, the Living Goddess of Nepal, the protecting deity of the kings of Nepal.

Believers who took them to be evil omens could be justified with Thursday's meeting between Nepal's six ruling parties and the Maoists finally inching closer to an understanding with the guerrillas now reportedly showing a "positive" reaction to the election they had threatened to disrupt.

Wily PM Girija Prasad Koirala's manoeuvre on Wednesday, declaring that his Nepali Congress party would support a federal republic from now on instead of constitutional monarchy, paid off handsomely at the meeting, mollifying the Maoists, who had been accusing the premier of trying to protect Gyanendra's throne.

At the end of the nearly two-hour long meeting of the top leaders of the seven parties, the ruling coalition said it was ready to call a mass meeting and pledge their commitment to a republic. The offer is likely to appease the Maoists, who had been demanding that Gyanendra be shorn of his crown before the election through a parliamentary proclamation.

At least it gives them a face-saving device since they walked out of the government this month, demanding an immediate abolition of the 238-year-old snake throne.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, who was the first leader to speak to the media at the end of the meeting, said that all parties, including the Maoists, were positive towards the 22 November election.

However, the parties have still another hurdle to overcome. The Maoists, who had laid down 22 demands, are unwavering on their call for a proportional election system instead of the mixed system Nepal has decided to adopt.

Nepal said the voting system as well as the issue of the Maoists returning to the government would be re-negotiated on Friday.

Source : Times of India

Other articles by reporter Times of India

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