A year that witnessed the largest political uprising and change ever in the history
2006 will be marked as a significant year in Nepal’s political history. This year, Nepal witnessed political upheavals and people’s profound unity for change. The year began with a gloom: King Gyanendra had declared Municipal polls for February eighth and almost all the mainstream political parties had already declared to boycott those polls. That created a situation of close confrontation between the Royal regime and political parties. King Gyanendra stuck to his stance on holding municipal polls, regardless of whatsoever participation of parties and people. And the seven parties agitating against King Gyanendra’s autocratic rule, decided to move head on against him; to boycott the polls at any cost and make them unsuccessful.
The decade long conflict ends after Prime Minister Koirala and Maoist Supremo sign the peace accord.
King Gyanendra’s ‘no setback’ stance brought both sides face to face. King Gyanendra deployed the army at every polling station and almost all parts of the cities and ‘held’ municipal polls almost under curfew order, even without permitting the press vehicles from plying the roads. And the popular movement rose from the very day of the municipal polls when Umesh Chandra Thapa, a local political leader was killed while protesting the municipal polls in Dang. To the next hand, contrary to King Gyanendra’s expectation to set up his ‘democratic image’ and legitimize his rule, the international community denied to approve the polls.
Millions of people come on the street to protest against King Gyanendra’s autocratic rule.
Seven political parties had already made an understanding with the rebels to form an alliance against King Gyanendra’s autocratic rule. The Maoists, which were fighting war against the establishment for a Communist system, had agreed to enter the peaceful mainstream, given that the polls for constituent Assembly will be held. With this understanding, the political parties succeeded on assuring people who were fed up with King Gyanendra’s despotic rule and the evils of twelve years of multiparty democracy that something good will come out. Thus the volume of participants in political programs began to multiply every day.
Girija Prasad Koirala addresses the House of Representatives after being appointed as Prime Minister.
Hitting the iron when it is hot, the political parties including Maoists declared a do or a die movement against King Gyanendra’s despotic rule. The movement began from April 6 and millions of people came on the street. Some experts even declared that it was the largest political uprising in the 21st century. Twenty one persons got martyrdom across the country and King Gyanendra was obliged to vow before people’s peaceful movement. He declared reinstatement of parliament as demanded by political parties at the midnight of April 24.
The reinstated House unanimously endorses the proposal to go for Constituent Assembly Polls tabled by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala
After the reinstatement of the parliament, Girija Prasad Koirala, as the leader of agitating seven parties, became country’s Prime Minister and a coalition government of seven parties was formed.
Another significant event in Nepalese history came on May 18 when the reinstated House declared itself as sovereign and cut all the rights and many state privileges of the King. The Monarchy became a lame duck, almost suspended unless its fate is determined by the constituent Assembly. Meanwhile, the peace process with the Maoists also moved ahead. The government and the Maoists sat for formal dialogues on May 26, giving new hopes to the people. Both the sides sign a 25 point code of conduct and agree to further the peace process.
Maoist Supremo Prachanda appears public for the first time in 24 years ever after he went underground in 1984
The other significant event happened on June 18. Summit level talks among the top leaders of seven political parties and the Maoists begin. Maoist Supremo Prachanda appears public first time ever in the 23 years after he went underground in 1984. This incident assured people that the Maoists are really willing to enter the peaceful mainstream. The parties agreed to promulgate interim constitution, form interim government, invite the United Nations to facilitate Maoists’ arms management and hold Constituent Assembly Polls by Mid July 2007.
However, Nepal’s peace process still remained indefinite as the scheduled tasks as mentioned above could not be held in agreed period. The prolonged peace process, though it was for many technical reasons, made people impatient and some uprisings against the government were witnessed during this period. Despite a few events of breach in code of conduct, Nepal’s peace process is meant to have moved smoothly so far.
Both sides are engaged in talks since the last eight months. (Pic: IDK/Everest Uncensored)
Nepal’s ten years long conflict which claimed more than 13,000 lives and left thousands of people homeless, comes to a formal end on November 21. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist Supremo Prachanda sign a peace accord that formally ends the ear. The Maoists agree to send their army to the cantonment. Meanwhile, series of talks; many in summit level were held and the parties succeeded on signing on the interim constitution on December 16.
Fishing in troubled water and Prolonged Transition
Nevertheless, Nepal is facing a hard time. Countries in transition are always in crisis. They are vulnerable to the chaos and disorder. If the leadership fails to rightly address the situation, the crisis may engulf the whole country. Certain reactionary forces are trying to fish in the troubled water. Trying to fish in troubled water, some communal forces have tried to break the communal harmony prevailing here. This week’s incidents in South western city of Nepalgunj and series of lootings in the eastern Terai are intended to break the communal harmony.
To the next hand, the reactionary forces are also trying to find space in the transitional environment. Series of gatherings by one of the pro Royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal, in the last two weeks are intended towards garnering support to the King.
The civil Society kept up its role as a wathcdog against any activities of either side that may create impediment in the peace process (Pic: IDK/Everest Uncensored)
Whatsoever, the largest impediment in Nepal’s peace process have become the arms with the Maoists. It has impeded the Maoists entry in the interim government, creating an opposing situation between the seven parties and the Maoists. It has also delayed the promulgation of interim constitution. This will ultimately affect on the Constituent Assembly polls declared for July next year. This will further prolong the transition, making country vulnerable to more crises. Thus, unless the arms with the Maoists are managed, Nepal’s peace process still seems to face crisis at some point. However, there are silver linings in the cloud. People haven’t yet lost the hopes and so do the political parties.
The New Year 2007 will be fruitful in real sense to the Nepalese people in the political parties work closely and succeed on holding the constituent Assembly polls on declared dates.