Kingdom Gone


Big news out of Nepal. After massive protests, the king was forced to reconvene parliament (the BBC has a summary analysis) in April. And yesterday, The Hindu reports:

The Nepal House of Representatives on Thursday passed a proclamation declaring itself the sovereign and supreme body of the country and massively cutting the king’s powers and privileges. It also declared the country a secular state and put the army under its control.

Hopefully this is a turning point for Nepal, which has bearing the brunt of poor governance for decades and a bloody rebellion in the last decade. However, the Asian Center for Human Rights points out that there are things to be concerned about, like, will the army be held responsible for human rights abuses.

….the SPA (Seven Party Alliance) government must not use the draconian preventive detention laws such as Public Offences Act and Public Safety Act, which have been consistently misused by the monarchy to suppress pro-democracy movements. One of the major failures of the 1990 pro-democracy movement was the failure of the democratic governments in Kathmandu to repeal these draconian laws. Before King Gyanendra took over absolute power, all the governments misused the Public Safety Act and Public Offences Act.

Other than the abysmal record of the government before the King dismissed the parliament, there is also the matter of the Maoists, and their human rights record, and whether it will be possible for them to enter the political mainstream, not only because of the difficulties of holding a fair election, but also will the world be willing to accept former rebels as the legitimate Government.