Nepali Congress, Nepal’s ruling, biggest and one of the oldest political party goes for federal democratic republic making it almost certain that monarchy will formally be abolished in Nepal in the next few months.
It’s been quite a while I haven’t used the term historic in my writings recently but to continue with that for long time in these times in Nepal is very difficult. Something historical is happening in Nepali Congress, the biggest party of Nepal whose President is also the Prime Minister and officiating head of state. The Central Working Committee of Nepali Congress today adopted, in principle, the policy of federal democratic republic (sangiya loktantrik ganatantra) in Nepal. A team led by central member Chakra Prasad Bastola to draft the Constituent Assembly election manifesto for the party had presented the draft for discussion in the CWC today. The CWC meeting held at the Prime Minister’s official residence at Baluwatar endorsed the proposal following almost nine hours long heated discussion on the proposal.
[“The main thing is that the CWC has agreed in principle to a federal republican state structure and multi-party democratic system of governance stipulated in the draft of the manifesto that we have finalized today,” said Arjun Narsingh KC, the party’s member of the manifesto drafting committee. “We will now solicit suggestions from the party’s sister fronts in the run up to the Maha Samiti.”]
The party that has been advocating Constitutional Monarchy since its inception (about 60 years ago) had deleted the term some two years ago after king Gyanendra started playing foul with democracy. Though a large section of the party was pressurizing the leadership to go for republic setup, the leadership of Koirala was hesitant in the past several months to get away with monarchy completely. Even as the monarchy has been in the state of suspension ever since the historic April revolution (2006), Koirala was talking about giving space to king or ceremonial king or baby king. Leaders like Narahari Acharya who have been campaigning for the republic agenda inside and outside the party deserve the credit for the significant development.
The Party CWC also decided to convene a special meeting of its general assembly (Mahasamiti) meeting for September 23 and 24 to pass the resolution on federal republic. Mahasamiti is the highest body of the Nepali Congress after Mahaadhibesan (general meeting) that has the right to decide on policies for the party. This mahasamiti will be of the unified Nepali Congress and the policy adopted in that meeting will be of the unified party.
In another significant (not historic though) development, the CWC of Nepali Congress (Democratic) today decided in favor of its unification with Nepali Congress. NC-CWC is expected to formally decide the same tomorrow. The unification announcement is also expected in the next 48 to 72 hours.
[Sujata Koirala was the only CWC member who opposed the federal republic agenda and advocated for the constitutional monarchy. To advocate CM in today’s Nepal is no different than saying ‘I am for the king who will have power to dismiss democracy anytime he likes to do so.’ Historically, kings have always deceived Nepali people and democracy ever since it was established in Nepal in the 50s. Mahendra, the father of suspended Gyanendra, was the one who dismissed the first democratically elected government of Nepal in a coup in 1960.]
The current interim constitution has the provision that says the first meeting of the CA will decide on the fate of monarchy. With the NC going for the republic agenda, it’s almost certain that monarchy will formally be eradicated from Nepal on the first meeting of CA whose election is scheduled for 22 November (6 Mangsir).