Friday, January 26, 2007

Will Nepal go republican?


The horrible civil war in Nepal came to a formal end in late 2006, when the Nepalese government and communist rebels finally came together and signed a UN-backed peace agreement. Under the terms of the deal, the Commies were given a quarter of the seats in the Nepalese parliament and a special interim government of "national reconciliation" was sworn in.

For years the communists had been engaged in a bloody uprising to overthrow the government of Nepal and establish a communist state, as Marxists tend to do. Their main villain was the autocratic King of Nepal, this monstrous, zombie-looking old man who assumed the Nepalese throne in 2001 after his psychotic nephew murdered the rest of the royal family. Frustrated with his government's inability to wage an effective war against the Marxists, in 2005 the King fired the civilian cabinet and prime minister, assuming all executive powers for himself.

But this was not popular, since you cannot destroy freedom in order to save it. Communist and anti-Communist alike were soon brought together by their mutual hate of their oppressive king. He was forced to bring parliament back, and they expressed their gratitude by voting to strip him of all political power.

Under this new government of national reconciliation the King is no longer even recognized as "head of state." That title has instead been transferred to the Prime Minister. So the monarch is now in some sort of weird legal limbo. In June the Nepalese people will elect members of a special constitutional convention who will in turn decide whether or not the country is to formally become a republic.

But the signs are looking strong that the monarchy is permanently on the way out. According to a story in the Associated Press today the Nepalese finance ministry is going to take the King's portrait off all of the country's banknotes.

If Nepal does become a republic it will be the first country to abolish a monarchy since the Island of Mauritius separated from the British crown in 1992. Runner up is Fiji, which separated from the British crown in 1987. Because I, as a Canadian, live under the British crown as well, I know that legally we are supposed to consider Queen Elizabeth to be several different, distinct monarchs, rather than just some sort of imperial mother hen we all share. I don't think many history books will record 1987 as the day the "Fijian monarchy" ended, however.

The last real monarchy to be abolished was the Iranian one, following the 1979 Islamic revolution that deposed the Shah.

6 comments:

Furius said...

Pity... I suppose he had it coming...

I wonder what happens if it is abolished...

jonnyrobot said...

Well one could hope that a series of abolishments around the world would ensue, but that's unlikely, as people who hold power don't usually give it away, even if their unworthy of it.

Psudo said...

J.J., your knowledge astounds me. I'm amazed you can stay so consistently up-to-date on so many topics.

J.J. said...

Thank you sir.

And yet, there is still so very much I do not know....

Anonymous said...

Indeed, the more we know, the more we realize we don't know.

Lewis said...

They (the restored Nepalese Parliament) also pressed charges against the King didn't they?

Either way, the civil war was pretty nasty on both sides. One of those civil wars where I wouldn't back Marxists or Monarchists...