Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nepal's Parliamentary Decision Abolishing the Long-run Monarchy: A Documentation


-Safal Ghimire

            An important hallmark of Nepal's parliamentary decision was on May 28, 2008 when the Constituent Assembly (CA) opted for abolition of long-run monarchical regime and established people's sovereignty. This was the first CA meeting after the huge success of long-awaited election in April. The meeting declared Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republican country and abolished the Shah monarchy through the legal ground. Even though the consensus was not unanimous, the decision was crystal democratic.

            A voting followed on the proposal tabled by Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula on the behalf of the Government of Nepal (GoN). The only royalist party Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal members voted against the proposal. But they were just four in number. They abstained from declaring Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republic arguing that the absence of monarchy will do no good to the country. According to them, this absence was to reportedly bring instability and political frailty. Hence, they were in cons. Later, a democratic process followed. But the result was clearly on the side of the republican align.

          "I declare that the proposal tabled by the government for implementation of a republic has been passed as 500 members out of 564 present today voted in favor of the proposal and 4 against", announced Acting chairperson of the CA Kul Bahadur Gurung after a division vote late night.


This way the parliament cum Constituent Assembly succeeded to dethrone the king Gyanendra Shah making country-people see their aspirations met after the April Movement in 2006. It snatched the rights and privileges of the king and royal families other than those of common Nepali citizens. Some other decisions were also important. Giving the king an order to leave the Narayanhiti Palace, further, it also decided to turn the Palace into a historical museum. An amendment of the interim constitution was also made noting the president as head of the state. S/he is designated as the supreme commander-in-chief of the army and is endowed with the power to mobilize the army upon the cabinet's decision. The right to impose emergency upon the recommendation of the cabinet is also provided.

 The decisions in detail
ü       Declared the former king and royal family members shall no longer enjoy any rights and privileges other than those of common Nepali citizens.
ü       Instructed the government to make sure that former king Gyanendra Shah and his family leave Narayahity Royal Palace within the next 15 days.
ü       Instructed the government to make necessary arrangements for the safety of all property inside the palace.
ü       Instructed the government to setup Narayahity Royal Palace as a historical museum.
ü       Stated that all constitutional provisions, laws, administrative rules and arrangements at variance with the proposal have been scrapped.
ü       A second sitting of the CA passed a separate bill to amend the Interim Constitution and make new arrangements for a president as head of state.
ü       The president will be supreme commander in chief of the army and will perform other duties as determined by the constitution.  The president will mobilize the army upon the cabinet’s recommendation.
ü       Declared that Nepal will mark Jestha 15 (in the Nepali calendar) as Republic Day every year and extended tributes to the martyrs whose sacrifices have brought the country to the present stage. 

Earlier, a negotiation among the ruling parties was ended in constitutional presidency for the state. This very coveted meeting was convened about 10 hours later than the scheduled time against the will of the numerous people around the CA hall. The government has marked this day, Jestha 15 (in Nepali calendar), as Republic Day for the country.
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