Prime Minister Koirala: Forget the King, Talk About Gyanendra

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who is also the president of Nepali Congress party, has been over the past several months showing signals that his party might leave the king behind the history and go for the constituent assembly election because of the increasing public pressure. A few weeks ago in his hometown Biratnagar, Koirala had suggested the king to abdicate. Here comes the latest from the leader of the interim government

By Gopal Khanal in New Delhi, India

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today said that he will begin talks to resolve the Terai issues as soon as he returns to Kathmandu. Talking to Nepali reporters in New Delhi – where he went to attend the 14th SAARC Summit- PM Koirala said that he was ready to hold talks with concerned groups to resolve the Terai problems. When asked “What will you do if king Gyanendra tries to disrupt the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections?”, Koirala replied with a question of his own, “Do you mean ‘king Gyanendra’ or ‘Gyanendra’? Forget the king, let’s talk about Gyanendra.”

Koirala, in a roundabout way, denied that king Gyanendra would be active during the CA elections. Furthermore, Koirala also said that his party Nepali Congress (NC) would come to a decision regarding the king before the CA elections. “I can not talk about the issues of CA right now; we need some “spice” to create an environment for the CA and NC will provide the “spice”.”

When asked about NC unification, Koirala said that in the present condition, unification was necessary, not only of the two Congress parties but among all the eight parties. He also revealed that talks were being held with NC-D President Sher Bahadur Deuba. “When I managed to get united even with the Maoists, of course unification with NC-D will happen,” said Koirala. The Prime Minister also said that Nepal’s prestige among the international community had increased as the peace process was moving ahead positively. Stating that the peace process was yet to reach a conclusion, Koirala expressed his commitment that he would make it (peace process) reach a final destination within his tenure.

PM Koirala, who is scheduled to return to Nepal tomorrow, met Bangladesh’s provisional government’s Chief Advisor Fakrudhdhin Ahmed this morning. Koirala is also scheduled to meet Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee later today.

Related Blogs:

1. Koirala: King’s Actions Leading Nepal to Republic
2. Nepal in Transition: Gyanendra Barks From Palace, Tries to Justify 2005 Coup

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114 thoughts on “Prime Minister Koirala: Forget the King, Talk About Gyanendra”

  1. Many thugs are born in the poor country like Nepal and distablise the society, culture, ethnicity, economy etc. They show the dream of Switzerland to the uneducated poor and grab the power for their vested interest. Where their only concern is to reach the high profile status with the ladder of 100 false assurances especially to the poor.

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  2. Like the UML who in 2048 elections, promised 2 kilos of gold and land to all the voters.
    Now it is the turn of the maoists to promise to make Nepal a switzerland. All they will succedd in making Nepal a state of India, and for this the Forum will be of great help to them.

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  3. DOA – good to see you putting an argument for G. You see I describe myself as a non-partisan citizen unaffliated to any power centers or parties. And I think I reflect whats in majority of neutral Nepalese mind. I cant decide who is the lesser evil – SPA, Maoists or Monarchy as all of them have brought people nothing but misery.

    In this power struggle I only think its fair to fight for a piece, but supporters of monarchy need to come up with something sensible. They must learn to negotiate and compromise. Nobody can impose their blue blood upon the people anymore. The biggest problem with you royalists is you take people for granted and think nobody can go against your diktat. But this is the 21st century and royalists must come up with a value proposition to the people if it wants to remain relevant in any form.

    And people like noname must be stopped. I think his rantings are counterproductive to your efforts.

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  4. Also – regard to your take on our nation’s fractious society, your royalist groups must understand the role you all played in it in the first place. The main cause of Nepal’s chaos today is those dogmatic Bahunists who spread/forced their influence in Nepal through the vehicle called Monarchy. They made you semi god and you took the bait. And today when the times favor them, you are no longer relevant.

    Well lets no dwell in the past, but my point is (and the lesson royalists must learn from this is) that – real power rests in the hands of common people, not these scholastic dogmatic Bahunists. You must look after your people and do the right thing. This is the only way monarchy can regain its relevance in a country it ruled for so long. There is still opportunity but G seems to be pretty bad at using it, which makes me often wonder that Nepal is indeed better off without monarchy.

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  5. G has demonstrated tremendous sense of stupidity and inability to fight back. He seems to have no comeback strategy and in effect no matter what royalists bring up, believe me theres no way to save G or Paras. The best royalists can do is maintain ceremonial monarch by passing the throne directly to grandson or granddaughter …

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  6. Patriot,

    Most “royalists” as you put it just want a ceremonial monarchy under a democratic form of government, if that is the best that can be done then that is just great and what most “royalists” are calling for.

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  7. Great – then why dont royalists make a proper campaign out of it. Why dont they reach out to the people openly on this and create a forum/healthy debate. Why do we get to hear abt this through SPA-M.

    At this junction if royalists think silence is virtue then they are stupid. But at the same time being vocal doesnt mean issuing stupid statements like G did sometime back. Royalists just dont seem to get it. I am amazed.

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  8. CA elections: The rush to farce?

    BY MITHUN JUNG

    -“An election can be enacted. Election for (the sake of) election can be conducted. But real elections cannot be held.” Former Election Commissioner Birendra Prasad Mishra, Bimarsha, 9 March 2007. “There is an abnormal situation now and the elections (constituent assembly) will also be abnormal. Maybe there will be a shorter time for the (June 2007) election preparations, but the election will be held on time at any cost.” Prime Minister Girija Koirala, Seven Party Alliance and Maoists (SPAM) coalition, (Kathmandu Post, March 15 2007).

    Why is octogenarian Prime Minister Girija Koirala, insisting that elections will be held, by June 2007, come hell or high water, to a constituent assembly to create “New Nepal”? What is a “constituent assembly”? Put simply, it is an assembly that is able to make or change a constitution. What is the constitution of a country? Put simply, it is the body of fundamental principles (often supplemented by practices and precedents) that determine the composition and functions of the principal organs of central and local government in the state, and regulate the relationship between them and individual citizens and the state.It is serious business! The constitution is supposed to be “the supreme law of the land”. The Constitution of the United States has lasted 220 years, with only 26 amendments. In Nepal there have been six constitutions in sixty years. India has had one only in that time!

    Nepal has never ever had a constituent assembly (CA) as such, and it seems that we have a tendency to churn out constitutions faster than some writers produce good fiction. Why this rush to have constituent assembly elections in hardly three months time? The process of explaining to the “people” what this phenomenon is has not even begun, in a country with forbidding problems of poverty, literacy, and communications. Advocates of rushing through constituent assembly elections have not even begun to address, and explain, the “K5H5” aspects to the people: “Ke Ho? Kina Ho? Kasari Ho? Kaile Ho? Ko Ho?” What, Why, How, When, and even Who. Some rural folk even think “it” (the CA) is a person!

    For the Election Commission (EC) to pretend that it is close to registering all eligible voters is rubbish. The last decent census “on the ground” took place when? Do we know how many Nepalis there are; where they live or are currently at work (home, in India or abroad); what is their ethnic or other group composition by which they articulate primary concerns; or what is their distribution by districts; or geographic areas (mountains, hills, inner and outer terai); or economic “regions” such as the “Karnali” area in the far west? This kind of detail may not be crucial in parliamentary elections that take place every few years, but essential for constituent assembly elections that take place once in a lifetime!

    Most neutral observers would agree that the elections must be “inclusive” if they are to be legitimate. In the current situation of acute ethnic, regional, and other sectarian awareness cum discontent, it is vital that the past experience of elections be avoided, when it was the norm for a party to dominate government on the basis of having won some 60 per cent of seats in parliament with only 40 percent or so of the popular vote, which was itself often based on a turnout of only 50 per cent or so of total eligible voters. Thus large numbers of the “sovereign” people were not adequately represented in government or parliament, and far too many were not represented at all! This may be worse in case of representation by gender, ethnicity, caste, and so on. It will take a lot of thinking to develop a much more representative system of elections. The EC seems to admit that, only months away from the June 2007 CA elections, it still has not been given a clear and credible system to work with. The “mumbo-jumbo” version that the ruling SPAM combine is still discussing, for promulgation through the “interim” assembly, is unclear even to the urban “literates”!

    Those who see democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people” have reason to be alarmed by the Bill on Political Parties, 2063 that was tabled at the “interim legislature” that joins “ghost” legislators of the House of Representatives elected in 1999 and dissolved by the then Nepali Congress Prime Minister Deuba in 2002, with unelected Maoist insurgents (the US has still not lifted the terrorist tag on the Maoists).

    The Bill makes it impossible to register “new” political parties without ten thousand signatures. This is at a time when the Maoists, sometimes with Seven Party bedfellows, have regularly and routinely used force and threat and blackmail to prevent opposition rallies of even a few hundred people, and have said that their “loktantra” or “people’s democracy” is not for “royalists” and the like, and have labeled Madhesi protestors as “bandits”. If the constituent assembly elections are to be “inclusive” and credible, then it must be possible for all citizens, who think they have something to say, to canvass for the people’s vote, as individuals or groups, independent of “established” parties; recent events have shown that the latter may not be able to reflect and to articulate the variety of ethnic, regional, sectarian, gender, or whatever interests that have boiled over since April 2006.

    The proposal to forbid donations or grants from international organizations and foreign governments is a bemusing “holier than thou” gesture from SPAM, which would have been nothing and nowhere without such massive direct and indirect inputs. The proposal to ban donations from national organizations and individuals is mad and ludicrous. What is a party if it is not a free initiative of individuals and groups willing to put their money where their mind and their mouth are! Can a Nepali not fund a party that he has founded, or that he is a member of, or for which he canvasses and votes for in elections? Crazy!

    So parties must now depend on government grants for money? It looks Stalinist! Who controls government? It is the same Seven Party Alliance and Maoists, who are making it impossible to form parties through impossible preconditions backed by intimidation!

    The parties have not even begun to campaign for the June elections, but signs are already ominous. Advocates of constitutional monarchy and “royalists” have routinely had their meetings broken up by Maoists (especially the Young Communist League), often in conjunction with Seven Party elements, at places varied as Phidim, Birtamod, Rajbiraj, Lamjung, Pokhara, and Kathmandu, for some time now (“Royalist meet disrupted”, 17 March 2007, Kathmandu Post). Participants, often old, have been beaten up, garlanded with shoes, paraded through the streets, and so on. Individuals are not immune from what the Economist has called Maoist “thuggery” (10 March 2007), as in the recent beating of a leading hotelier, for supporting “constitutional monarchy” or not paying “donations”.

    This has had a very chilling effect on the freedoms of opinion, expression, assembly, and association, which are necessary for free and fair elections. This is taking place under the benign silence of Home Minister Situala, and eerie quiet of the Election Commission.

    If UN Special Representative Ian Martin and his United Nations Mission in Nepal have done anything remotely convincing in facilitating a free and fair atmosphere for the polls, then this is a well kept secret. Under his benign “monitoring” the Maoist were allowed to grow to a “registered” 34,000 combatants, from a probable strength of 9,000. He allowed the Maoists to look convincing in registering only 3,400 sundry weapons, against 34,000 claimed combatants! He is silent about the overall situation of threat, beating, extortion, disruption and silencing of opposition that is chilling to holding of free and fair elections.

    Ian Martin, the Secretary General’s Special Representative, and head of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), has failed in fundamental aspects of his mission. Otherwise UNMIN would have long ago stated publicly, what the basic parameters are for CA elections to be open, free and fair; it would have monitored if and to what extent these parameters were being met; it would have stated whether and when the country was ready to have credible elections; and it would make clear that the UN would not certify as credible any elections that do not meet basic requirements. Farcical elections will turn UNMIN into FUNMIN!

    In its present RAW format and rushed time, the constituent assembly elections constitute “political engineering” to produce pre-ordained results. This intention was apparent when Prime Minister Girija Koirala denied to the “sovereign” people the option of referendum on the monarchy, because he knew that monarchy, and the Hindu “rastra” or state, would be vindicated! To SPAM “democracy” is “government of the parties, by the parties, for the parties” or “democratic centralism”. Abraham Lincoln said it was “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Ke garne!

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  9. Patriot,

    Businessmen are still getting thrashed by maoists today, abduction is still going on, and every time a royalist party leave alone individuals tries to make a stance they get thrashed and even get support from the government and get shoved in to house arrest and detention for “conspiracy againsts this that and the other” . Look at what has been happening to Rabindra Nath Sharma of RPP. And you say why don’t individuals make a stance for a ceremonial monarchy?????? I don’t think patriot that you are seeing these things – the silence of the the silent majority out of fear and intimidation sponsored by the state.

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  10. You are inorrect Romen…Girija chor became PM for 6 times…2 times it was without elections or people’s mandate and then this chor talks about Democracy and Loktantra

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  11. b – you are right, and in that case if royalists cannot come up with something then I guess its goodbye royalists, welcome maoists. its readjusting balance of power and while i have no opinion on who is worse, i guess whoever gets it, takes it!

    maybe G should have talked to SPA in the first place, maybe he should have got better advisors, but may nay say stuff is too late. in such scenario guess the best thing for royalist to do is accept their fate and not indulge in provoking madhesis or other anti national stunts. when history will judge, it shouldnt be tht monarchists left but not before fcuking this whole country apart. as SPA-M goofs more and more, people will atleast rem monarchy more +vely and even might like to give G the benefit of doubt that he was tryin to save the country.

    If not even ceremonial monarchy, atleast it can leave behind a better legacy – something SPAM will never be able to touch.

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  12. You are right b. things have come to such that it looks pretty impossible for monarchists to comeback in any form unless there is some deft move by some really clever and visionary advisor.

    Nepal is really up for grabs you know.

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