Monarchy Popularity Sinking in Nepal, But People Want Ceremonial

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Opinion Poll: 87 percent of Nepalis think that ‘king and monarchy are becoming unpopular in the last few years’. But 54 percent think ‘there should be space to king or monarchy in future.’

By Tilak Pathak

At a time when Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is advocating for the ‘ceremonial’ monarchy, an opinion poll has concluded that the king and monarchy in Nepal is being unpopular. But a slight majority of people, mostly uneducated, want to continue the monarchy in one form or the other. A survey conducted by a non-governmental organization called ‘Interdisciplinary Analysts’ after the April Revolution concludes, “Monarchy is becoming unpopular in the eyes of people because of the activities of King Gyanendra.” 87 percent of the participants in the poll think that ‘king and monarchy are becoming unpopular in the last few years’. Only 5 percent ‘do not think that monarchy is being unpopular’ where as 7 percent opted to choose ‘don’t know’ option. Region wise, overwhelming majority (91.7 percent) of Central Development Region (where Kathmandu is located) development region feel monarchy is going downward where as 74.8 percent in Far West feel the same.

The poll shows that the palace massacre is the reason for descending popularity of the monarchy (40 per cent think that’s the reason). A statement issued by King Gyanendra immediately after the massacre claiming that the “firing occurred suddenly from an automatic gun” created doubt about him in people. The royal commission formed to inquire about the incident contradicted the king’s claim.

32 pre cent in the poll blame king Gyanendra’s behavior and 17 percent credit royal government’s anti-democratic actions for the declining popularity of the monarchy. 4 percent think that’s because the ‘palace’s conspirative characteristic’ where as 5 percent selected the “I don’t know’ option. The conclusion of the opinion poll signals the uncertain future of monarchy and king in Nepal.

Villagers think palace massacre is the reason for sinking popularity where as city dwellers blame royal regime’s anti-democracy activities for the same. Equal number (32 percent) blame Gyanendra’s habit and activities. Religion wise, 68 percent Kirats, 50 percent Buddhist and 39.2 Hindus believe palace massacre is the reason for sinking popularity where as 16.4 percent Hindus think it’s because of the anti-democratic activities of royal regime that popularity of monarchy is sinking. 33.3 percent Hindus blame king Gyanendra’s habit and activities for the same.

Even as the popularity of the monarchy is sinking daily, the survey says, people want to continue the institution in constitutional or ceremonial form because of the traditional relationship of people and palace. Responding to a question “do you think there should be space to king or monarchy in future?” 54 percent said “yes, there should be” and 39 percent said “no”. “Nepali people are still divided over the issue of monarchy,” said Sudhendra Sharma, Director of the institute that conducted the poll. More people in mountainous and hilly region don’t want monarchy than those in Tarai area.

The more people are educated, the more they are against the monarchy. Only 28.1 percent uneducated said they don’t want monarchy where as 66.7 percent people with masters degree opined against monarchy.

Majority of those in favor of giving space to king and monarchy choose for constitutional (34 percent) or ceremonial (18) form. That means people wanting to give ‘ceremonial in whatever way’ space make 52 percent. Some 28 percent chose “I don’t know” option. 45 percent among those in favor of continuing monarchy wanted to do so because of monarchy being part of tradition where as 17 percent said it’s because ‘the ancestors of the current king unified our country’. 11 percent reason that ‘monarchy is the national symbol of unity.’ The traditional claim of the palace that ‘monarchy is the symbol of national unity’ has been contradicted by the poll result.

38 percent of those who don’t want the continuity of monarchy reason that they think so because monarchy is ‘feudal and barbaric institution’ where as 27 percent feel ‘monarchy doesn’t [help] develop the country.’ And 15 percent think they are against monarchy because ‘it worked against democracy’, 8 percent think monarchy ‘brought about division among people’.

63 percent feel Maoist problem will be solved through talks where as 13 percent don’t think so. 23 percent don’t know about the issue. 59 percent think the ongoing peace talks will solve the problem where as 12 percent said no.

Do you feel popularity of king and monarchy is sinking in the past few years? (All figures in percentage)

Yes- 87
No- 5
Don’t Know- 7
Don’t want to say-1

Where do you feel the obstructing is coming from against solving the current problem?

Don’t know- 50
Current government- 8
Foreigners- 7
King and palace- 10
Maoists-10
Seven Party Alliance-12

Peoples’ understanding of Constituent Assembly

I have heard about it- 59
I have understood- 23
I have correctly understood-18

If you have heard about the constituent assembly, do you think the election of CA is necessary?

Yes- 98
No- 1
Don’t Know- 1

Do you think CA election will be held in free atmosphere? (Asked to those who have heard about CA)

Yes- 54
No- 38
Don’t Know- 7
Don’t want to say-1

Do you think there should be international supervision of the CA election to make it free and fair?

Yes- 76
No- 20
Don’t Know- 4

Do you trust Maoists?

I don’t trust- 17
I don’t trust at all- 17
Dont’ Know- 6
I trust them somewhat- 45
I trust them very much-12

Do you trust political parties?

I don’t trust- 17
I don’t trust at all- 19
Dont’ Know- 7
I trust them somewhat- 45
I trust them very much-11

Do you feel the government is working on to restore peace in the country?

Yes- 66
No- 15
Don’t Know- 18
Don’t want to say-1

Do you feel the Maoist leadership is working on to restore peace in the country?

Yes- 68
No- 11
Don’t Know- 20
Don’t want to say-1

UWB blogger Tilak Pathak is a Nepal Magazine reporter. A longer version of the this story appeared in Nepali in the magazine.

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23 thoughts on “Monarchy Popularity Sinking in Nepal, But People Want Ceremonial”

  1. What da craaaaap!

    Where are you dinesh, who the hell are posting these articles these days? It’s been lot not read you! is this website hacked again?

    About this article, This data is full of craaaap, because this doesn’t reflect reallty from any angle. It is not because I don’t want to believe but it is the product of non serious polls, and we all know what people do in online polls, every body thinks it is joke case it is not gonna make any difference, they just vote.

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  2. I would like to see the methods used to conduct the poll.
    But the only figure that seems off to me is the percentage in favor of retaining the monarchy as an institution. Perhaps those people think that they will be able to get rid of king Gyanendra and then retain the monarchy.

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  3. It does not matter if people want a ceremonial monarchy, Nepal can not be a ceremonial monarchy, as the king is a unscrupulous threat to democracy, He is the guy who would torture, and kill his people, just to keep his throne, Now is the time to be tough, just like in Alabama in the 1960s, when most white people and so the majority of the people opposed desegragation, and equality with Blacks, or in parts of India, when most people in some states supported keeping dictatoral monarchs, we can not have the monarchs, we can not have inequality, we need to do what happened in Alabama, just segragation was ended, the same here, some may want to be subjects of monarchs, but that is just a anti democratic belief, now is the time to abolish that monarchy, as otherwise the monarch will always be a strengh in Nepal, to crush and anhialte freedom, torture people,within an inch of their lives, and be a totem for evil,

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  4. hey kangressi,

    its not an online poll. the report is based on the recent survey conducted by the IDA (of which dipak gyawali is one of the founder and is a key person). its the fourth of such surveys that they conducted if i remember correctly.
    well you could have every reason to doubt it, and refute it but do it with sound logic, argument etc. the methods they adopted and all are available so you can challenge if there is any discrepancy or is not scientific, etc.

    polls/surveys are always tricky. it can always be manipulated.

    the poll must have come as a big respite to the darbariya buggers who flood this site all the time. but i’m interested in watching how the discussion would move further.

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  5. And worst of all, they will be monarchs, who are totems, of evil, that have support purely as of being monarchs, as of 1000 years of feudal anti Nepali lower class people propaganda, this is a sign, we must act now, and be tough, the monarchy is a terrible threat to democarcy, that could torture, and kill, and have support purely as they are kings, things that brain wash people to support them, end this destablising enemy of the people

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  6. This is to retain monarchy in Nepal by Dipak Gyawali type of nawa Mandale.

    At least 99 percent people – if not 100 percent- as there are kamal thapa and ramesh pandey like [icd] puchhuwa, want the end of murderous monarchy from nepal.

    we the youths living in the usa want the end of monarchy and our support will be with those who want to abolish monarchy.

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  7. If and when Communist Party of Nepal (MAOIST) becomes Political Force instead of Occupying Force, Monarchy will cease to exist.

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  8. Jake and everyone else:
    I think the Moaists are a much bigger threat to democracy, peace and stability then anyone else. The King has already lost his battle and is now hiding in the palace.
    The Moaist on the other hand are continuing to cause mayhem and destruction.

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  9. Do you honestly think Nepal will be better off with a president?

    Take Bangladesh for example. We got rid of a dictator back in December 1990. Our new “democratic” politicians are even more corrupt than the military government. The immediate past Prime Minister’s son is reported to have made USD 1 billion over the past year (USD 800 million because the Malaysian government was kind enough to freeze a USD 200 million investment).

    Today we have a political crisis and a near civil war. No maoists….just our two major “democratic” political parties. Our ceremonial president is nothing more than a stooge of the ruling party that just finished it’s term and unfortunately, due our constitution he has complete control for the next 90 days while a free and fair election takes place.

    Though I do not have an opinion on whether the monarchy should be kept, I ask the Nepalese people to think whether the issue of monarchy is one that should be the major one at this time. I’d say sort out the mess with maoists and your politicians first.

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  10. Bhudai,

    First, let me just let you know: I want to break your BIG bhudi for expressing nonsense, dear.

    You say, “The King has already lost his battle and is now hiding in the palace.”

    Here you go: The king had lost his battle in 1990 and was hiding in the palace. But he emerged in the form of Gyanendra in Feb 1, 2005. I hope I don’t have to explain this more by turning the pages of history and mentioning how king had lost his battel with Janga Bahadur but came back with a bang in 1960 in the form of Mahendra.

    Chh… bhudi phutaidinchhu ani.. 🙂

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  11. I honestly think that Nepal will be better off with President provided he or she is directly elected by the people and provided he or she will serve the people for one term of six years.

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  12. Kurban:
    You know if it was before, I would have pounced on you with more insults and nasty name calling. Even now I have to restrain myself but I don’t want to revet to that.

    Let’s just discuss the issue.
    Gyendra emerged because Sher Bhadur Deuba is an idiot. He naively dissolved parliment on G’s ‘recommendation’. Plus at that time the SPA leaders were fighting amongst each other to the extent that at one point Girija ASKED Gyanendra to remove Deuba. Just go to nepalnews and do a quick search.

    Look, G could only take over because our political leaders were weak. Now after the April revolution we have made the changes – most importantly the army is no longer under the Monarchy’s control etc.
    My point is that the Maoists are a much bigger threat right now. We can always decide the King’s future later on. As bad as the ‘Royalist’ are they are not going around killing and torturing people, kidnapping little children etc. are they?

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  13. Well the question framed was – ‘has the king and monarchy become unpopular in the last few years’. If someone asked me the question in so many words, I would be very confused. Firstly, I might think that the king may have become unpopular but not the monarchy or the other way round. I might even think that both monarchy AND the kind have become unpopular. So, in which case do I say “yes” to the question? All of the above or jsut the last one? In addition, what does become unpopular mean? Does that mean I personally dislike it more than before or does it mean I know that people around me have started to dislike the king? And when do I say yes to the question– when 10% or 20% or 80% of the people around me have implicitly or explicitly expressed to me that they dislike the king or mornarchy or both more than before. Now, to the last one– “last few years”– how many years is that? Does it date back to the time when Birendra refused to use army against the growing Maoist insurgency or the year when the royal massacre occured or just last year when the Pril revolution took place? And how much of a decline is decline– say if we were to ask have the maoists and the political parties become more unpopular in the past few years– do we have to feel that both Maoists and seven parties have become unpopular to say yes to the question? Please give me a break!

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  14. As everything is scientific in the eyes of Maoist Prachande- he start a sentence by word scientific, remember. I guess the poll presented is also scientific. Not worth the paper it is printed on.

    As for Neil and his curious george insights, take a hike before they turn on you with a cry of capitalist spy and war monger. They can chage their ways on a dime, buddy. At least you were warned.

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  15. I am confused with this survey;

    1. Method and coverage seems odd so it can only be called interviews.

    2. The survery is taken during the time when SPAM are against the autocracy rule. This survey might take turn if SPAM cannot satisfy the basic demands they had committed to the people as happened after 2046 democracy. The real demand of the people is not abolishing the king, one should understand it just came in between. But people have real high expectation of their basic living rights such as equality and opportunity to survive in terms of different angles.

    3. Question 2 potrays that majority people don’t know who is the barrier to problem sovling is quite vague. It means people don’t know where they are heading although the situatiom might be changing.

    4. Question 4,5 and 6 contradict to each other. About 60% don’t understand the concept of CA but 90% are saying CA is necessary. I think CA is just whim for the people with expectation of peace. About 40% still are not secured to poll the CA. Which means the result might turn to anybodys favour with threat.Similarly, only 45% are somehow trusting to SPAM in CA.

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  16. for you darbariaya dalals: this survey was conducted after april movement.

    don’t worry, the poll says there still are people favoring ‘ceremonial/constitutional’ monarchy.
    but election has different dynamics, you know.

    if there weren’t guns in the maoists’ hand the shitty institution called monarchy could have been easily uprooted. the intl community is real obstacle in ousting gyanendra.

    hope everyone has heard of the fate of saddam hussein. i never believed in death sentence, so i don’t want gyane to be hanged but i want to see him deposed and put on trial in jail.

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  17. I am confused with this survey;

    1. Method and coverage seems odd, so it can only be called interviews.

    2. The survery is taken during the time when SPAM are against the autocratic rule. This survey might take turn if SPAM cannot satisfy the basic demands they had committed to the people are fulfilled, as happened after 2046 democracy.

    3. Question 2 potrays that majority people don’t know who is the barrier to the problem sovling. It means people don’t know where they are heading.

    4. Question 4,5 and 6 contradict to each other. About 60% don’t understand the concept of CA but 90% are saying CA is necessary, what is this? I think CA is just whim for the people with expectation of peace only. About 40% still are not secured to poll the CA. Which means the result might turn to anybodys favour with threat and other means.Similarly, only 45% are somehow trusting to SPAM in CA.

    The conclusion;

    People are in vague situation but desire for peace by whatever means either they understand it or not. The total trust among the people lacking due to the activities of the SPAM.

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  18. Let’s think it logically. Why would Nepal need a ceremonial monarchy? For a hedge against an elected government that would turn irrationally tyrannical in which case the king will step in and save the country? I don’t think so. For sentimental reasons, for Nepalese are inure to subservience to the royalty? If, so I say wake up from your torpor. Or could it be that the country has tons of money to dish out to the royal family so they can live in royally? That would be illogical, won’t it?

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  19. I really don’t see the point of this Poll, because the sample where taken as a whole of Nepal and then inferred to the population and although they say it was done in random the process or algorithm is not mentioned. Plus Nepal needs at least 8 systematic quadrant first, then we can sample them in random. There are too many intermingling questions asked in this poll and based on that the y do not highlight the standard error anywhere, there is a mention but for such a variant data set the Standard error seems inaccurate. The only thing I am impressed about this poll is that finally there are people in Nepal at least trying it, and maybe some day they will manage to perfect it. As for Gyanendra, I am for a referendum to make sure a sensitive issue as that is not played around with, also the same for secularism. They are divisive issues and there are as many people in support of it as there are against it, so in a democratic country a referendum makes sense due to the lack of proper election and campaign structure in Nepal.

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