Accuses parties of violating agreement

Six weeks after Nepal’ Constituent Assembly (CA) expired without delivering a constitution, Nepal’s last monarch Gyanendra Shah has said he wants to be the king again. Mr. Shah expressed his desire in an interview to a private television channel. The CA had abolished the monarchy at its first sitting in May 2008.

Mr. Shah’s claim rests on what he says was a private agreement with the leaders of political parties on April 24, 2006 — the final day of the People’s Movement. On that night, after 19 days of street protests, the king conceded that sovereignty lay with the people, not the crown, and accepted the roadmap of the political parties to bring about peace and democracy.

Mr. Shah said, “At that time, there were many written agreements shared with the then seven-Party Alliance [fighting for democracy]. Each word was negotiated. It was clear. What was needed was peace and if parties were willing to take that burden, I did not have any difficulty.”

Adding that the monarchy’s exit was not a part of the agreement, Mr. Shah said, “I don’t know where that came from. It had reinstatement of Parliament, appointment of the PM from among the parties, and revival of constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy. I did not have a problem with that. It was a three or four point agreement.” Asked how the situation changed, the former king said, “Perhaps when it became eight I think.” This referred to the entry of the Maoists as the additional political force, besides the then mainstream seven parties.

Asked if he wanted to assume an active role, Mr Shah said, “No”. The follow up question was if he wished to assume leadership of a guardian as a king again, the reply was, “Yes. That is much better.” Political parties across the spectrum and sections of the media, criticised Mr. Shah for his statement.

Prime Minister Bhattarai said, “The former king does not seem to have learnt any lessons. He will lose whatever facility he is getting.”

Nepali Congress general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula, a key negotiator during the final days of the People’s Movement, rejected the contention that there was any “agreement” with the king. “This is a lie. His remarks are outrageous and objectionable and I challenge him to provide proof of any deal. He is dreaming.”

Keywords: Nepal politics

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