Nepal Maoists reject PM’s proposal of five-year-old king

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS

Kathmandu : Nepal's Maoists Monday rejected Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's efforts to save the monarchy by installing King Gyanendra's five-year-old grandson, saying their aim was to abolish monarchy in all forms as they regarded the palace to be the fountainhead of the nation's woes.

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Maoist chief Prachanda said Koirala's statement to a group of visiting Pakistani journalists Sunday — that he had advised King Gyanendra and Crown Prince Paras to abdicate in favour of five-year-old Hridayendra before the November election — showed that neither the premier nor his Nepali Congress party were in favour of democracy.

"At a time parliament has decided that monarchy can be abolished even before the election if two-third of the members agree, Koirala's remark goes against the constitution and weakens the understanding between the eight parties when he should have been striving to consolidate it," the rebel leader said.

Acting spokesperson of the Maoist party, Prashant, added that Prachanda had ruled out accepting the monarchy in any form – be it a ceremonial king without any actual power or a minor king.

"There is no option to a federal republic," Prashant told IANS.

"We staged a 10-year people's war and then took part in the pro-democracy movement against King Gyanendra's regime with the sole objective of holding a constituent assembly election so that people can decide whether to keep monarchy or axe it. It is also the basis of our agreement with the parties.

"The verdict of the people is against monarchy. Those who support monarchy will find themselves wiped out."

It was the second time the octogenarian prime minister, regarded as a staunch supporter of the monarchy despite leading the uprising against King Gyanendra last year, advocated that the king and his son give up their claim to the throne in order to save it from abolition.

The earlier statement, made in his home town Biratnagar in eastern Nepal, had created a furore with the Maoists strongly opposing it.

"Koirala is expressing his personal opinion," Prashant said. "It does not even reflect the stand of his Nepali Congress party whose youth leaders want monarchy to be abolished. His personal feeling about monarchy has contributed to the instability prevailing in Nepal and we are asking the Nepali Congress to make its official position clear."

The Maoist official made it clear that his party would not accept any kind of king.

"We want an end to feudalism and the restructuring of the state so that all groups, communities and sexes get equal rights," he said. "This can never happen as long as any form of monarchy exists.

"So we want not just an end to Gyanendra and Paras but an end to the entire palace."