From The Nepali Press
Editorial in Nepal, 31 July
FROM ISSUE #258 (29 JULY 2005 - 04 AUG 2005) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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The king's decision to expand his ministerial cabinet has mocked civil society, democrats, political parties and the international community. With six months of his direct rule almost over, there were hopes that he would fulfil his commitment to restore democracy and the multiparty system that he had declared at international fora. This seems even more remote. The cabinet expansion took place on the same day that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special adviser Lakhdar Brahimi met the king. Less than a few hours after Brahimi suggested to the king that he allow the return of the constitutional process and restore the multiparty system, the Royal Palace Press Secretariat released a statement announcing the expansion of the cabinet. This only proves that the palace either does not recognise the credibility of Brahimi or does not respect his position. At a time when unity and harmony is supposed to reign, the cabinet expansion has only created more obstacles. Even some royalists expressed their dissatisfaction over the expansion. Despite political demonstrations on the street against the king's rule, there is also a consensus among leaders to work towards a dialogue with the king. But now all possibilities for such a positive move remain remote. This has, on the other hand, only helped pave the way for the Maoists and seven political parties to unite and protest against the king. Many new faces inside the new cabinet are controversial. They include politicians who were ousted from parties, staunch royalists and criminals. Cabinet berths are only a reward for those who support every move of the king and those who have no genuine political ambition. The royalists claim that February First was initiated to end corruption and criminality the people suffered during the 12 years of multiparty governance but what message is the king trying to give by including in the cabinet people with records of criminal involvement and corruption? This decision can jeopardise the regime.