Unity between King, and parties unlikely

Nepal has been mired in such a political mess that exit does not seem easy. The unity between the King and the political parties has been seen as important for the solution of the present crisis. The US, the UK, and India — all democratic countries — are tirelessly singing this tune. The latest to give chorus to this political concert has been Thomas Daschle, a former US senator. The 1990 Constitution formed the basis of the unity between the King and the parties within constitutional monarchy. But it has been virtually dumped by the King. The occasional commitments expressed by the palace lack sincerity. This attitude has been manifested in the form of seizing power from the people’s representatives, putting the leaders in detention or behind bars, and curbing fundamental rights. This has been possible by mobilising the state machinery like the military and the police on the pretext of fighting terrorism.

It is clear that the King does not want to budge an inch from his stand. This has been reflected by the recent expansion of the cabinet. The retention of Dr Tulsi Giri but action against some others on corruption charges have made this fact even more glaring. The cabinet has been packed with former panchas. This indicates that the King is preparing for a head-on collision and not for smooth transfer following the democratic process. To seek to have unity with the King is thus a far-fetched proposition. The prescription put forward by the parties can address the present problems. Had it not been so it would not receive internal as well as external support. It consists of the restoration of the parliament, the formation of an all-party government, the holding of a referendum regarding the drafting of a new constitution either from a constituent assembly or the amendment process. This would not only restore democracy in the country, but also pave the way for the settlement of the Maoist problem.

There is no alternative to the use of people power when all the persuasive methods fall on deaf ears. That is why the pro-democracy movement is gaining public support gradually.

The civic sociey is participating in the movement. The intellectuals also have been increasingly

taking part in the movement. Now, it is only a matter of time before the commoners join the movement. The People’s Movement of 1990 has shown that when people take part, the movement comes to a decisive end. There is still a possibility of the King and the commoners staying in harmony in Nepal. But the palace does not seem interested in this idea. This is very sad for many Nepalis who still believe in constitutional monarchy. They will be left with no alternative to shifting to the republican court if the palace continues to show a lack of interest in reconciliation. The restoration of the Constitution and hence of the parliament forms the point of departure between the King and the political parties. For the political settlement of the crisis in the country, it is necessary for all the political forces to meet at such a point. But this does not appear to be likely under the present circumstances. This will have unfortuante consequences not only for the palace but for the country as a whole.