Nepal Commitment to Multiparty Democracy


A discussion of the MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS of the King’s 1 February 2005 proclamation

King: “It is now a year since the decision was taken to restore law and order and activate the multiparty democratic polity in the country in keeping with the nation’s needs and the people’s aspirations.”

Through the proclamation made to his countrymen on 1 February, the King has reiterated his unwavering commitment to multiparty democracy. The Monarchical Institution in Nepal has always been guided by the will and aspirations of the people of Nepal. The Royal proclamation a year ago was necessitated to prevent the country from slipping into anarchy in the face of the worsening law and order situation and to reenergize the multiparty democracy in the country. The political parties used democracy as an instrument to capture power without a corresponding sense of accountability. This resulted in the erosion of the people’s faith in the political parties, which were largely responsible for pushing peace and security of the country to a dangerous point. Hence, democracy could not become meaningful for the people in a real sense of the term.

King Gyanendra
King Gyanendra

King: “We believe that a road-map to sustainable peace and re-energizing a meaningful democracy are two sides of the same coin. We are confident that a road-map of consensus will forever end all possibilities of resurgence of violence and terrorism in our motherland, which will otherwise put at risk the universally acclaimed multiparty democracy and hurt the self-respect of Nepal and the Nepalese people.”

The King has said that peace and democracy are complimentary and constitute the two sides of the same coin. Democracy cannot be achieved without attaining peace and peace is unachievable in the absence of democracy. Lasting peace is what the Nepalese people are longing for. Seizing the opportunity created in the absence of meaningful democratic exercise, rule of law and good governance in the country, terrorism began to surface and gradually took governance in the country, terrorism began to surface and gradually took control of the whole nation.

The Nepalese people have vividly witnessed how instability hindered the exercise of democratic rights in the country. The country’s political institutions are without elected representatives since the last four years, because the democratically elected government of the political parties dissolved all the elected political institutions. The successive governments could not hold election as mandated by the country’s constitution in the absence of peace in the country.

His Majesty is in favour of all-inclusive and a meaningful democracy, which promotes peace and protects the interest of the country. To attain this, His Majesty has underlined the need for a roadmap to be developed in a transparent manner through the exercise of collective wisdom. This would provide an opportunity to those political party leaders who believe in democracy, peace and are committed to enhance the dignity of the nation. Political parties should not miss this opportunity.

His Majesty has said that violence and terrorism always pose a threat to universally acclaimed multiparty democracy and impede the self-respect of Nepal and the Nepalese people. This underscores His Majesty’s commitment to the restoration of law and order in the country. Similarly, His Majesty’s vision is that democracy should not be put at risk again. Being a guardian of the country, self-respect and confidence are dearest to the King.

King: “The Nepalese people desire for sustainable peace. This was clearly spelt out to us when we had direct contacts with our beloved people during our recent visits to various parts of the Kingdom.”

His Majesty took the trouble to visit various parts of the country during the last one year to have direct interaction with the people at a time when political party leaders confined themselves to the nation’s capital under security coverage instead of going back to the people to listen their grievances.

These visits have proven very instrumental for His Majesty to be acquainted with the real needs of the people. At the same time, these visits have revealed the trust, affections and deep relations that exist between the King and the people. The relationship between the Monarch and the Nepalese people is based on mutual trust and affection. The Nepalese people have renewed their faith in and devotion to the King during His Majesty’s visit to their courtyards. This deep and affectionate relation subsisting so happily between the Kind and people is the real source of national power of Nepal.

King: “The process of activating multiparty democracy and Constitutional Monarchy has now begun with the people exercising their franchise to reinstate these bodies for which the elected government had failed to conduct elections in spite of being given repeated opportunities.”

Timely election is an essential requirement of democratic exercise in any country. Election is the only method to provide legitimacy to political power. His Majesty wishes the political institutions of the elected representatives of the people to take the responsibility of governance. The process of holding elections for reenergizing multiparty democracy has already been initiated in the country.

The King is confident that all the political institutions including the Parliament will be reactivated by April 2007. The political parties in Nepal and the democratic countries like India, United States, United Kingdom including European Union should support the Royal proclamation if they really want to see democracy reenergized in Nepal. The Nepalese people are vigilant whether these foreign powers really want democracy in Nepal or they have some other sinister designs.

King: “Democracy flourishes only through the enfranchisement of the people and democrats wouldn’t loose when democracy is upheld.”

The King believes that the people’s right to vote must be respected and elections should be held in a free and fair manner. Democrats would not loose anything by participating in the electoral process. Democracy is consolidated by the support of the people expressed through ballots. Those who oppose democracy would obstruct the process of enfranchisement. Anyone who possesses a view that a democrat would not win with the victory of democracy, he/she is an anti-democrat.

During the last 15 years the country has witnessed a dirty game of power politics at the cost of the country. People’s faith in the political leaders has been sharply eroded and there appeared a crisis of confidence. People could not enjoy a meaningful democratic exercise and peace ceased to exist in the country. Democratic process in the country has been totally stalled for the last four years when elections were not held in the country in the absence of peace.

King: “Rule of law alone will ensure good governance.”

The basic principles of rule of law like equality before law and equal protection of law didn’t really function during the last 15 years. Similarly, people’s participation in governance was also discouraged, which led to frustration among them. Politicisation of crime and rampant corruption further aggravated the situation. The rising expectations of the people, thus, remained unfulfilled. This has worked like fuel for burning fire and taking advantage of the situation many disappointed youths were dragged by the terrorists. Therefore, the King has emphasized that effective observance of the rule of law alone ensures good governance and functioning of democracy in the country.

King: “The Nepalese are well aware of the fact that character without any moral foundation, politics indifferent to national pride and a form of governance bereft of the people’s confidence will neither benefit the nation nor the people.”

The King has said that Nepalese people have understood well that the character that is not befitting with the moral standard, politics that is indifferent to national pride and the system of government that could not garner the peoples’ support will not be beneficial to the people and the country. By highlighting this, the King has emphasized that the politicians must uphold good moral character, politics should always pay due respect to the national pride and the governance should be people oriented.

King: “It is our belief that multiparty democracy cannot be made meaningful in the absence of significant popular participation in governance, effective decentralization of authority in the village, municipal, district, zonal and regional levels and maximum autonomy to elected local bodies in the formulation and implementation of development projects.”

The King is committed to empowering the elected representatives of the local bodies by decentralization and devolution of authority. His Majesty opines that devolution of authority is a must to make multiparty democracy meaningful and functional in the real sense. His Majesty has also said that an appropriate measure will be adopted to listen and address the grievances and discrimination of indigenous people and the people of the backward regions.

King: “Nepal has malice towards none and is ever alert in ensuring that her territory is not used against any friendly country.”

The King has, once again, made it clear that Nepal has malice towards none and, therefore, Nepal is ever alert in ensuring that her territory is not used against any friendly country. Nepal wants friendship with all and is always ready to cooperate for mutual benefit. This will remain yet another guiding principle of conducting our foreign relations especially with regard to our neighbouring countries.

King: “To act as a catalyst in enhancing economic ties between her two neighbours, Nepal is preparing to be the transit point between them.”

The King’s vision to develop Nepal as a transit point for bilateral trade between India and China will remain one of the thrusts of Nepalese foreign policy in the years to come. Indeed, the King has added a new chapter in our relationship with neighbours by offering Nepal to be a transit point. This will not only benefit India and China in promoting bilateral trade in a cheaper price but the other countries of South Asia would also prosper by availing of such opportunity and thus would help transform the region itself into an engine of growth in the days ahead.

King: “It is not easy for a country combating terrorism to strike a balance between the compulsions of national security and upholding the rights of the citizens – this is a reality faced by all democratic countries afflicted with the scourge of terrorism. But it is our strong belief that the people must be allowed to exercise their democratic rights in a peaceful manner, with due consideration to national security.”

Nepal ‘s national agenda on terrorism is that there can be no good and bad terrorism and Nepal condemns it in all its forms and manifestations. It operates without borders, knows no logic and language. No country, no person and no religion is totally immune from the scourge of terrorism. Therefore, it must be fought comprehensively, collectively and resolutely. Violence can never be an instrument of political change. Nepal urges international community not to adopt selective approach and double standards with regard to terrorism because it poses a serious threat to democracy, rule of law, and human civilization.

The King is of the opinion that people should be entitled to enjoy democratic rights without ignoring the compulsion of national security. The most important thing is that the King has pleaded to uphold the democratic rights of the people even during fighting against terrorists.

We have seen that many countries that have been advocating for human rights have imposed restrictions on the rights and freedom of the people for the shake of national interest while fighting against terrorists.

King: “The vigilant Nepalese have well understood the conspiracy to foment further acts of terrorism in the name of momentary cessation of violence. If those who have gone astray wish to rejoin the mainstream of peace and creativity, democracy and coordination, and if they wish to dedicate themselves in the service of the people through the ballot, abjuring their murderous acts against the nation and people, we make it clear that they will be given the security and opportunity necessary to shoulder the responsibilities of governance in their capacity as the people’s representatives, having won the people’s confidence through the universally accepted democratic exercise. The people can be won over only through peaceful political and constructive actives.”

The King is aware of the people’s desire for sustainable peace. People have pleaded for permanent peace rather than the momentary cessation of violence that has in the past been utilized to aggravate further acts of terrorism. The King is of the opinion that there should be a durable and lasting peace in the country rather than futile and intermittent tranquility that only allow terrorists to be emboldened. In the past, the country has experienced that the terrorist have used the period of so called fire to regroup and strengthen themselves, to extort money and to recruit more people to their militia forcefully. They abruptly abandoned the peace talks and begun to attacks again.

The King has, once again, made it clear that the nation would provide an opportunity to shoulder the responsibilities of governance as people’s representative to those who have gone astray provided that they renounce violence and join the national mainstream politics. This amply substantiates the King’s commitment to restoring peace and reenergizing democracy in the country.

King: “The people can be won over only through peaceful political and constructive activities.”

The King has further said that people’s heart could be won through peaceful political and constructive activities. He has urged all to unite with patriotism and dedicating themselves to the people’s welfare and initiating a new chapter in exercise of a meaningful democracy.

King: “The essence of Nepal’s glorious history is the fact that the Nepalese people themselves determine Nepal’s national agenda in the interest of the country and their own.”

His Majesty has said that the Nepalese people themselves could determine the country’s national agenda in the interest of the country and their own. The King has bestowed his total faith on the people of Nepal and hopes that people themselves are capable enough to decide on their destiny. Nepal definitely welcomes any economic assistance from the friendly countries but Nepalese people have the right to self-determination.

King: “Activities like disrupting peace, encouraging discord and creating hurdles on the road to rapprochement in the name of democracy will benefit none.”

The King opines that forging alliance with inimical force, startling people from exercising democratic rights and encouraging dissension and violence in the country is in the interest of none. This would be counter-productive to those who encourage such activities. Therefore, the King has asked all and said “Let us, therefore, unite, with patriotism as the focal point, in dedicating ourselves to the people’s welfare and initiating a new chapter in the exercise in meaningful democracy. We wish to emphasize that all differences can be resolved within the framework of the Nepalese patriotic tradition in keeping with the Nepalese psyche, which has never had to put up with subjugation throughout history.”

King: “We, therefore, call upon all Nepalese to consign mutual recrimination to the bitter past and build a secure and prosperous future for the nation and people, while upholding democratic norms.”

The King has urged all the Nepalese to forget about the bitter past and forge a unity to build a better future. This statement proved that the King is extremely flexible to give a passage to the political process. Thus, both the terrorists and other political parties have, once again, been asked for reconciliation by the King to build a secure and prosperous future of our nation.