Himalayan Sham: Nepal Election Drama

Issuing a statement defending autocratic king’s election roadmap and deploring international community’s criticism of municipal polls, Nepal government fights back

By D Wagle

“His Majesty’s Government of Nepal finds the statements made by a few countries on the municipal elections in Nepal as totally objectionable thus unacceptable and asks them to refrain from making such insolent comments on matters that fall essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of a sovereign country.”

-Statement by the Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal.

Autocracy in today’s world is an abominable anachronism. But what is even more dangerous is the attempt of autocracy to don the garb of democracy. In a bid to deflect the mounting pressure to revive democracy in Nepal, King Gyanendra ordered municipal polls on February 8. But election without a semblance of democracy is nothing but a monumental farce.
-An editorial piece (titled Himalayan Sham) in the Asian Age, an Indian daily newspaper.

Just like the Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Information Minister was seeing his government’s victory as the American armies were marching inside Baghdad, Nepal’s foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey thinks that, the February 8 municipals in Nepal were “a clear popular victory against terror that has derailed democracy for years.” Pandey’s Foreign Ministry today issued a statement in the name of the spokesperson (we know the status of spokesperson in Pandey’s minister very well! Folks say that even files related to promotion of a junior level officer at the ministry has to go through Pandey’s table.) that essentially blasts off recent criticism made by some of the worlds leading countries like Japan, US, Britain and India. All of these countries have rejected the election branding it meaningless, hollow exercise with no popular support aimed at legitimizing the king’s autocratic ambitions.

Poor Pandey! He just served his master by issuing a statement that is full of false claims and laughable reasons. “His Majesty’s Government would be grateful to be enlightened if there is a substitute for elections in a democracy,” the fifth last sentence of the statement states. Who will tell Pandey that there is no democracy in Nepal, there is simply the autocracy of his boss, the Chairman of the Cabinet. When Gyanendra Chairs the Cabinet, Pandey should know, there is no democracy in Nepal.

When people like Pandey believe that there is democracy in today’s’ Nepal, its no surprise to learn from Royal henchman like Keshav Raj Rajbhandari (Chief Election Commissioner is his formal identification) proudly declaring that Election Commission is ready to hold General Elections as and when the King directs the constitutional body as per the article 53 (1) of the national statue. Rajbhandari has become of the shameless royal psychopath over the weeks by blindly acting as per the autocratic wish of King Gyanendra.

Now is the time for international community to do something significant than just issuing statements. Now is the time for political parties to intensify the movement so as to force the tyrant king to kneel down in front of the real popular wish.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

18 thoughts on “Himalayan Sham: Nepal Election Drama

  1. Yes, let’s everybody be ready to roll. This is the right time to hit the head of the autocrat.

  2. The statement from MoFA comes as no surprise. Mr. Pandey has been vociferously advocating the autocratic democracy since he was made Minister. It is his job to do this. If he does not do this his job will be at stake. He is a perfect bootlikcer…oh, ya…Mr. Kamal Thapa and Mr. Tulsi Giri are the other two outrageously vocal bootlikcers of the autocrat.

    The statement from Mr.Pandey has no gravity, is full of cliches and thus does not have any meaning. The secret that the polls was indeed a ploy of the autocrat to legitimize his authority and cling to power is now more than crystal clear. So, no one is in decpetion. If someone is in deception then it is Mr. Pandey himself, else he would not have dared sending such self-humiliating press release bashing the international community.

    Mr. Chairman is now morally corrupt. He must have felt unpreceedented humiliation seeing the turnout during the election and the revelation by the media. I don’t think he will in anyway yield power as this again shows his defeat. He is in no way ready to accept this though it is obvious to everyone. He will cling to power and now talk about parliamentary election with the help of the hawks like Mr. Thapa and Mr. Giri (oh, they are in fact hungry vultures). The only way to bring democracy is to depose his of his title and force him to leave the country…oh ya, now the best place from to go is The Hauge.

  3. I don’t understand why this blogger is only interested in presenting only one side of the coin? Isn’t that a great feat of the present government to able to hold municipal election with minimal bloodshed and riots? At least we now have elected mayors. Even if you believe that having elected mayor won’t heal present woes of Nepal, is it a bad thing to have elected official though? Regarding the low voter turn out, I think 22% is not a bad figure at all given all the threats from the Maoist and the 7 party alliance.

  4. This one is a paid one. no suprise, ramesh jee!

    What i understood in Kathmandu during the days before the elections talkign to my relatives and friends was that If Maoists threat was not there, many would have gone to vote. this is a fact.

    Those who had directly benefitted from the previous NC and UML government they said we won’t go to vote.
    most of the others said that they are afraid of the maoists.

    I am neither a royal agent nor do i support the Indian expansionism in my motherland. This is a natural reporting not a distorted or even carrying a vested interest.

  5. The futile attempt of the feudal Shah-Rana regime to legitimise its rule through the recently held so called municipal polls has been badly shattered. The foreign ministry’s statement clearly indicates the state’s hopelessness.

  6. This blog site is as blind as a bat, due to either vested interest or genetic stupidity. Yes the election turnout was not at all great, but albeit any election with the Maoists threatining to slaughter you would not turn out too well.

    The so called leaders like Girija and Madhav Nepal who boycotted the elections are a shame for us Nepalis. We all know that Girija is India’s baby, but when a so called communist like Nepal touches the feet (literally, this is not a metaphor) of Indian politicians as is the custom in India to touch the feet of your seniors, what is the future for the country if we leave it in the hands of these chaps. A Sikkimese observer told me that even their leaders do not touch the feet of these Indians, so he was showing concern as to what would happen to Nepal under such gutless and two or even three faced leadership.

  7. King Gyanendra and his henchmen are like someone who’s got his clothes all wet. So everything shows and even then they feel no shame in going out in public. They know that everything shows and at the same time pretend that nothing shows. It is shameful that they’ve lost any self-pride. More shameful is the fact that rather than hiding their nudity they’ve got both hands pointing at others.

    If anybody says 20% is encouraging in the face of Maoist threats and political boycott, they should look at Afghanistan and Iraq where far greater risks couldn’t deter the Afghans and Iraqis from showing much better participation.

  8. Please help finding answers to following questions

    1. Why we are fighting and for what for sure?
    2. Are we really united to fight against autocrats?
    3. Who is our real Leader? (If current situation goes continue… one day I shall be for sure)
    4. Why it is being taugh to isolate autocrats from democracy system?
    5. What is the reason behind not publishing real fact about “Royal massacre”? (most people are not agreed upon revealed fact)
    6. Or the fact published by Mr. Bhata ta ta is the truth?
    7. What is “Grand Design” as said by Girija prasad koirala

  9. Under normal circumstances voter trunout is historically between 40-45%. Even in democracies like the U.S. only 40-50% maximum voters vote. Under Maoist threat and 7 party boycott a 20-22% turnout is no small feat. This is in real terms a 50% voter turnout, because no matter what the situation (war, peace, whatever), the other half of the voters do not vote and abstain.

    To add to these figures, there must be half the population of Nepal who are eligible to vote who are not even registered voters. After all the Congress and the UML have made it very difficult for people who do not support them to even register as voters.

    Most of the poeple who are registered are already party people, neutral people should be the ones who should register and vote in greater numbers. Unfortunately this is not the case. So therefore these arguments about voter turn outs can go on and on till the cows come home. The Election Commission has to do a far better job of getting as many voters registered as possible, then albeit corrupt parties like the Congress and the UML wont be doing so great in future elections.

    I suspect a lot of independents and new parties will fare far better.
    As for poll rigging, well ask Girija if he had not been up to his rigging tricks the last time we had elections under his government. Compared to that I dont think the 22% who voted this time had much choice but to vote for independents and the Thapa RPP, there is no need to rig a two horse race.
    And yes the Maoist threats did have a lot if not all to do with the voter turnout, because not only did the voters abstain from voting but many candidates who people would have voted for in the numerous posts did not stand due to fear for their lives.

    In Afghanistan and Iraq (with the help of the most powerful force in the world _ the U.S. army in case people here forget the “little” details that makes a world of difference), there were candidates who people could vote for, unfortunately here half the candidates withdrew. But we also have to acknowledge the people of Afghanistan and Iraq despite the fine print and say hats off to the brave people of Afghanistan and Iraq who stood and voted despite the threats, the same cannot be said for us here at home.

    Just goes to show that the Maoists are a formidable terrorist force and the quicker we fix the problem the better for the population of Nepal, then we can vote or not vote in peace.

  10. “I don’t understand why this blogger is only interested in presenting only one side of the coin?” That’s because Mr. Chairman’s coin in khoto dabal. It has only one side.

  11. “There is no need to rig a two horse race.” Wrong. Only one horse in this race–the king. He has almost 20 percent support. Rest 80 percent Nepalese are against monarchy.

  12. nobrainer,

    7 alliance should be worried why 21% came to vote even there was threatened to punish and killed to the nominees and voters. It is not wise to give full heart and underestimate the opposition. Who knows what is the strategies of maoist also for tomorrow? We don’t think they will stay as supreme leaders by handing over the power to the Girija Madhava?

  13. 20% votes doesn’t mean that the election was fair and democratic and they think that this is the excercise of Democracy. We have been excercising the democracy in different form from 2007 till now. After all the democracies all ruleded by beaurocrats, for the beaurocrats, to the beaurocrats. So, we need to wipe the word beaurocrats from the dictionery of words then only true fair and free election can be conduted and the true democracy can be excercised. We need to love our country then only true democracy will florish. It doesn’t florish by sologons.

    Let’s try to be true Nepali and love Nepal then automatically democracy will be restored.

  14. [ I think 22% is not a bad figure at all given all the threats from the Maoist and the 7 party alliance.]

    If people REALLY wanted to vote, they would have. Look no further than Iraq. 70% of people voted there, and the turnout was exceptionally hight in Sunni Areas, where the level of violence is much higher than in Nepal.

    I disapprove of the U.S occupation of Iraq, but can’t deny that the people in the country chose to elect their own leaders, whoever they were.
    That has not happened in Nepal. Let us not deceive ourselves.

  15. To say fairly, 22% turnover is tremendous and is like a victory for monarchists. In spite of life threat and all the tactics of intimidation by 7 parties, so many people queued and voted!! Marvelous!! ( i thought it would have been below 5%) if this indicates something, it might be the support behind the king.

    22% solid support +may be other 20-30% who are afraid to vote. Altogether it reaches more than half of the population! … but wait.. I think general people (almost 90%) are still neutral and only rest 10% are playing with the destiny of the majority. Many are worried with their dalbhat rather than who stays in the power-chair. They want dalbhat with peace!

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