A prorepublic supporter jumps in glee after setting fire to an effigy of King Gyanendra and
stamping upon it outside the International Convention Center, Nepal (AP).

Nepali King Dethroned, Ending 239-Year-Old Monarchy

May 29, 2008 06:04 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Holding true to campaign promises, Nepal’s newly elected Maoist government has made the country a republic and has given King Gyanendra 15 days to vacate the palace.

30-Second Summary

Amid cheering from Maoists supporters and a doleful King Gyanendra, Nepal was officially declared the world’s newest republic on Wednesday.

The deposed sovereign has just over two weeks to vacate the 1970s palace, which is to become a museum, declared the Maoist-majority parliament, elected in April.

Only four members of the national assembly voted against a proposal to force Gyanendra to abdicate in favor of what was termed “an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular and an inclusive democratic republic nation.”

Three bombs, suspected to have been planted by royalists, were found in capital city Kathmandu on Wednesday.

Some fundamentalist Hindus believe that the king of Nepal is a reincarnation of the god Vishnu. According to the AP, however, King Diapendra’s slaughter of several palace members in 2001 “helped pierce the mystique” held by the dynasty. Gyanendra then rose to the throne, although rumors that the new king was involved in the mass murder did not help his popularity.

In the name of quelling the Maoist insurgency, his dissolution of Nepal’s civil government in 2005 only heightened the fighting that was wracking the Himalayan countryside.

Nepal had been embroiled in a bloody civil war since 1996, when the Maoists, opposed to the constitutional monarchy, attempted to form a one-party communist republic. The war resulted in more than 12,000 deaths, and close to 100,000 displaced persons.

Gyanendra wound up restoring the government in 2006, bringing in Maoist leaders for peace talks. His power then began to wane.

In December 2007 the Maoists and the ruling Parliamentary alliance decided that the monarchy would be terminated after the 2008 elections.

Today, the country that boasts one of the world’s greatest natural wonders—Mount Everest—ranks as one of the poorest nations.

Headline Links: Nepali dynasty abolished

Video: 'Nepal Prepares to Become a Republic'

Background: The election, parties and women voters

Historical Context: Nepal and the civil war

Opinion & Analysis: “Nepal’s Perilous Ascent”

Related Topic: “Bhutan Votes in First-Ever National Election”


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