Saturday, April 22, 2006

Victory in Nepal?

After two weeks of protests and fourteen deaths, Nepal's self-proclaimed absolute monarch has seemingly backed down, saying that he will return power to the people of Nepal and inviting the opposition to nominate a Prime Minister. But while significant, the "backdown" was far less than what the opposition is seeking - there was no mention of elections or a constituent assembly, or a limitation of the King's role - and so it seems the protests will go on.

At this stage, there seems to be little King Gyanendra can do to retain power. His decision to murder his own people rather than restore democracy has caused a sea-change in public opinion; as the number of deaths has increased, the slogans being chanted have gone from "restore democracy" to "down with the monarchy" to "death to the king". Unless there's a total backdown and a retirement to the status of a mere figurehead, we may very well see Gyanendra having to flee his palace in a helicopter.


"there seems to be little King Gyanendra can do to retain power"

At risk of complete cynicism:

The opposition is an unwieldy alliance of Maoist extremists and democractic moderates. He's just gotta survive long enough for them to fall out. And even if he goes, they're still likely to fall out.

Posted by Icehawk : 4/24/2006 09:22:00 AM