The King has announced that there would be municipal election in the country within a year. The Election Commission said they had already started updating voters’ list to fulfill the ‘wish of the King’. The political parties said they would not participate in the election unless there is democracy and freedom in the country.
So what’s next? I believe there will be municipal election soon – no problem if the parties choose to stay out (that will be even better for the King and there will be small parties willing to participate to benefit from the opportunity), no problem if the turnout is low, no problem whatsoever with the results. The King wants to show the world that he believes in the democracy and thus using the election (considered worldwide as a mean of exercising democratic power by the people) as a tool to deceive the international communities.
The result of municipal election is going to have no problem for the King because a) the elected body will have no power in the high level, and b) even if they try to do something like that the King has already implemented a plan to stop that by appointing his men as zonal-chiefs in 14 zones and regional chiefs in five development regions (Politically Nepal is divided into 5 Development Regions, 14 Zones and 75 districts).
So there can be nothing better for the King to show the world his ‘democratic commitment’ than by holding election. You will see how the authority will try to show the municipal election as a democratic process and the international media will be tried to utilize by feeding such information that this election is a first step to show the King’s commitment towards democracy.
And, since he has said the election within one year, the international communities would be forced to wait and see it for a year. And after election, the King would try to persuade them for continue stopped support for Nepal. But I believe the international communities should understand the situation – and believe that unless the King steps down and give away the executive powers to the people’s representatives, there will be no democracy in Nepal.
Special note on this entry:Radio Free Nepal was a blog that ran during ex-King Gyanendra’s direct rule of Nepal defying the tight censorship and was instrumental in getting out information out of Nepal. The blog was at freenepal.blogspot.com which has now been closed.
The banner reads: King Gyandendra of Nepal has issued a ban on independent news broadcasts and has threatened to punish newspapers for reports that run counter to the official monarchist line. Given that any person in Nepal publishing reports critical of “the spirit of the royal proclamation” is subject to punishment and/or imprisonment, contributors to this blog will publish their reports from Nepal anonymously.