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Loktantra Andolan

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The 2006 Democracy Movement (Nepali: लोकतन्त्र आन्दोलन Loktantrik Āndolan /Loktantra Ka Lagi Gariyako Āndolan) is a name given to the political agitations against the direct and undemocratic rule of King Gyanendra of Nepal. The movement is also sometimes referred to as Jana Andolan-II ("People's Movement-II"), implying it being a continuation of the 1990 Jana Andolan.[1]

Reinstitution of Parliament

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In a nationally televised address, King Gyanendra reinstated the old Nepal House of Representatives on April 24, 2006.[2][3] The King called upon the Seven Party Alliance to bear the responsibility of taking the nation on the path to national unity and prosperity, while ensuring permanent peace and safeguarding multiparty democracy.

The reinstitution of Parliament was accepted by the SPA. It declared that Girija Prasad Koirala would lead the new government. The SPA stated that the new parliament will hold elections for a body that would write a new constitution.[4]

The move was rejected by the maoists. Baburam Bhattarai stated that merely restoring the parliament was not going to resolve the problems and that the rebels planned to continue fighting against government forces.[5] They still demand the formation of a Constituent Assembly and abolition of the monarchy.

On April 27, however, the Maoist insurgents responded to demands by Girija Prasad Koirala and announced a unilateral three-month truce in the Nepalese Civil War.[6][7] In addition to this, on May 1, Bhattarai announced that if "the elections [to a Constituent Assembly] are free and fair, one has to respect the result of the elections. Then of course we will abide by the verdict of the people."[8] This was seen as a large step forward as it shows the first signs of Maoist acceptance of the democratic process.

On May 2, Koirala announced the new government cabinet including himself and three other ministers from the Nepali Congress: K.P. Sharma Oli from CPN (UML), Gopal Man Shrestha from Nepali Congress (Democratic) and Prabhu Narayan Chaudhari from the United Left Front.[9] This was followed on May 12 by the arrest of four ministers from the ousted royalist government and an investigation into alleged human rights violations by the army during the General Strike.[10]

May 18 Act

The most dramatic move of the post-Loktantra Andolan government came on May 18, 2006 when the Parliament unanimously voted to strip the King of many of his powers.[11] The bill included:

  • Putting 90,000 troops in the hands of the parliament
  • Imposing a tax on the royal family and its assets
  • Ending the Raj Parishad, a royal advisory council
  • Eliminating royal references from army and government titles
  • Declaring Nepal a secular country, not a Hindu Kingdom
  • Scrapping the national anthem until a new one is composed
  • Eliminating the king's position as the Supreme Commander of the Army

The act overrides the 1990 Constitution, written up following the Jana Andolan and has been described as a Nepalese Magna Carta. According to Prime Minister Koirala, "This proclamation represents the feelings of all the people."[11]

May 18 has already been named Loktantrik Day (Democracy Day) by some.[12]

Although the constitution was accepted, it was always intended to be temporary and on May 29, 2008, a new constitution was voted on by the Nepalese Parliament, which declared that the monarchy would be deposed and a new parliamentary republic would become the Nepalese political framework.[13]

See also

References

External links

  • JURIST
  • A photo blog of the movement
  • CNN – April 9
  • CNN – April 21
  • New York Times
  • Navhind Times
  • Nepali)
  • Another blogger's account of the movement
  • Scores of journalists detained – IFEX
  • Criticism of the movement
  • Interview with an Eyewitness in Kathmandu – Revolution Online
  • Explaining Maoist Strategy: It's All In The Script by Dr Thomas A. Marks

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