By ANDREA MANGET, THE GLOBE AND MAIL.
Should Nepal maintain a government structure that sticks to its historical roots of monarchism or is time for change? This question has Nepalese leaders in feverish debate as they tackle the country’s crumbling government structure and determine what is best for the nation in an era of democracy.
Ever since the massacre of Nepal’s King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev on June 1, 2001, Nepal has been faced with political turmoil and uncertainty. Things that come to mind are the state of emergency that was declared in 2001, the parliamentary dissolution that occurred in 2002, the ongoing battle between establishing a political body that holds no consistency.
Ram Baran Yadav, General Secretary of the Nepali Congress Party, reminds the debaters that they are present “because of the vote of the people.” Yet former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba points out the fatality in giving too much power to the people of Nepal. Referencing the country’s current economic state and delicate infrastructure, Deuba concurs that a push for democracy is the only way in which Nepal can see any sort of change or progression.
With a country so ethnically diverse and fractured, the opposition declares that a single monarch ruler is necessary in order to achieve some sense of alignment. This is especially significant among those who are uneducated and living in such severe states of poverty; they need the leadership of a figurehead. Madhav Kumar, the General Secretary of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal, agrees and adds, “if we don’t remember where we come from, how can we figure out where we’re going?” Fighting to conserve some aspect of the country’s history and cultural past, Kumar hints at a compromise. Perhaps instead of a Prime Minister, a President is elected with a council beneath him/her, limiting the power of a single parliamentary leader.