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A Nepali Reenactment of a Spanish Fairy Tale

On February 23rd, 1981, the Spanish parliament was stormed by 200 armed troops of the Civil Guard, a paramilitary group within the army. The soldiers fired in the air and held about 350 MPs hostage for 18 hours. They wanted King Juan Carlos to assume absolute power.

Juan Carlos was designated King of Spain after the death of General Franco in 1975, leaving the extreme right wing and parts of the army disappointed and alarmed. Their suspicions were confirmed when the new king immediately implemented democratic reforms, and held elections within two years of ascending the throne. He further alienated those elements in the army by legalizing the Communist Party of Spain. It was this discontent within portions of the army that Antonio Tejero used to lead a rebel faction of the Civil Guard to storm the parliament.

However, the coup failed when the King gave a televised speech asking the people to support the parliament and the breakaway group to surrender. Having been snubbed by the man they had wanted to siege power, Tejero was left with no option but to surrender.

The Nepali Reenactment

Imagine a replay of this scenario in Nepal – a recently formed parliament, a legalized Nepal Communist Party (Maoist), and some disappointed men in the Army who still believe in absolute monarchy. To add to the melodrama, let us replace the humbled king Gyanendra by Paras. If a faction of the army storms the parliament and asks the king to assume power, will Paras give a televised speech refusing to take power?

As long as there is a monarch, there is a direct threat to democracy, especially in a country like Nepal where just a little more than half a century ago, an ossified oligarchy ruled the nation, whose descendents continue to hold a strong grasp of the army. In developing a new constitution we cannot incorporate chance, hoping that the better angels of the king’s nature will leave the power to the people.

A Plebiscite

As far as I understand, the elections for the constituent assembly will elect members who will then decide the fate of the monarch. However, I believe this is a flawed procedure. The fate of the king will rest on the parties, not on the people themselves. If Nepali Congress (both Koirala and Democratic) decide that their official stance will be ceremonial monarch, then despite what the people want, ceremonial monarchy it will be. When one votes for a representative rather than the issue itself, other factors come into play (like party politics, political correctness, a fear of change, personal loyalty).

A plebiscite is the only way we can hear the true voice of the people. The premise of the constitution (republic, constitutional monarchy, ceremonial monarchy or absolute monarchy) will have to be decided by the people themselves. It is upon this outline provided by the referendum that the assembly will have to draft the new constitution.

A Flawed Institution

Monarchy, in itself, is a flawed institution. Politically, no power should be granted to anyone merely by inheritance. Historically, the atrocities committed by the monarchs – from Prithvi Narayan Shan to Gyanendra – prove that the only interest they had in the people was to rule over them, which also required keeping them satisfied. And symbolically, a Hindu king divides the nation, not unite it.

If there is a referendum on the role of the king, which I doubt there will be, ceremonial monarchy may still win. I think it will be a tough contest between republicanism and ceremonial monarchy. I, for one, will vote for a republic.

10 thoughts on “A Nepali Reenactment of a Spanish Fairy Tale

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  5. “If there is a referendum on the role of the king, which I doubt there will be, ceremonial monarchy may still win. I think it will be a tough contest between republicanism and ceremonial monarchy. I, for one, will vote for a republic.”

    My thoughts exactly. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  6. my vote also to the authority in the hands of everyday people. However, our only concern still is that – are everyday people ready to help ourselves? Will we not be polluted by gratifications should we authorize ourselves, especially when each of us terrorized are leaning towards terrorizing that are not.

    Certainly we need to empower ourselves but each other first without forgetting bob for singing “…you’re still gonna have to serve somebody – no matter what you say…”. In the same manner let us not cloud our minds – for we have reasons to be humbly proud and confident. Thank you people’s history, for not hiding the lies of the past, and for instilling in us that…

    नहुंदाखेरी नआत्तिनु… हुंदाखेरी नमात्तिनु ।
    nahuṁdākhērī naāttinu… huṁdākhērī namāttinu.

    Let us learn to be still, learn to empower each other before empowering ourselves, and strengthen the things that remain. We cannot afford to let the history repeat its ugly face for it is inevitable that it will consume us.

    History repeated un-terrorized – Let us take this sad song and make it better at the same while strengthening the things that remain.

  7. I allot for the same prefer to be in the next door rather than the other way.

    Let us continue this healthy and judicious vote by all the body of citizens of the country having the quality of deciding populace option on factuality of existence of national grandness.

    Hay you omnipotent people let us make this country; THE COUNTRY OF PEACE.

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