Democracy Day in Nepal: A rally organized by political parties today turned into an unimpressive mass meeting in New Baneshwor. All pics by Wagle
By Dinesh Wagle
If you start comparing this rally and gathering with that of the last year, then, yes, this is a big leap forward in terms of peoples’ participation and enthusiasm. This was the scenario last year: We were celebrating the first democracy day after the autocratic royal takeover, state of emergency was imposed throughout the country, many leaders and activists were in jail (well, some of them who were arrested just before Feb 8, 2006 municipal elections, are still inside), heavy censorship had tightly gripped the media, no cell phones were ringing (and pre-paid lines that were suspended for the election got life only a few days ago). But if you consider the numbers of people participating in the rallies organized by political parties over the months, today’s how was poor and unimpressive. Continue reading Democracy Day: Tyranny Celebrates
And cites nationally and internationally discarded Municipal Election as an example of his democracy.
In his yearly message to Nepali people on the occasion of Democracy Day, king Gyanendra repeats his rhetoric of reviving democratic process while still ignoring or underestimating the strength of political parties and magnitude of violence in the country. The biggest example of this is that the monarch still thinks Feb 8 municipal elections were a democratic exercise. Lets look at this sentence pulled out from the royal message. “The Nepalese people have demonstrated their faith in the power of the ballot during the recently held municipal elections.” Below posted are his other sentences:
As we celebrate the 56th National Democracy Day today, we pay homage to our august grandfather His late Majesty King Tribhuvan and all the brave souls who laid down their lives for the cause of democracy.
To ensure that an exercise in democracy is meaningful and sustainable, the people’s right to elect representatives of their choice must be recognized as sacrosanct. The Nepalese people have demonstrated their faith in the power of the ballot during the recently held municipal elections. In spite of the apparently adverse environment, the courage shown by them is indeed commendable. The commitment of the people has led to the victory of democracy. The Nepalese people have been encouraged by this success to install all representative bodies through election and sustainable peace.
Peace and democracy are the aspirations of all. The nation, therefore, seeks solidarity amongst all who have faith in multiparty democracy. This solidarity must be achieved at the earliest so as to formulate a mechanism which ensures that peace and democracy are never again jeopardized. In the coming days as well, democracy can be reenergised with the activation of all representative bodies through the electoral process. Our continued interaction with the people has led us to believe that the time has come for all those who believe in these ideals to chart a course ahead, with the welfare of the nation uppermost. We, therefore, call on all willing political parties to come forth to fully activate, at the earliest, the stalled democratic process in the greater interest of the nation. Let us listen to others, put across our views, do away with discord and enhance mutual understanding; let us consolidate peace and democracy.
Inspired by our glorious tradition of patriotism, those who have been misguided should, without further delay, enter the mainstream of peace and multiparty democracy, eschewing the path of violence and destruction.
We are committed to upholding and safeguarding the Constitution in the greater interest and progress of the Nepalese people. It will do well to remember that democracy will be secure only when the rule of law is upheld and the Constitution alone forms the basis of rule of law.
May this day inspire us to activate a democratic process dedicated to sustainable peace and welfare of the country as well as initiate a new chapter of understanding amongst us all. May those who sacrificed their lives to usher in democracy and all those who place the dignity and glory of the nation above all else inspire us in achieving these noble objectives.