The king has said he would be happy if there is a referendum to decide whether the constitution should be amended by the parliament or whether a new constitution should be made through a constituent assembly. The peace talks failed in August because there was no agreement on the issue of a constituent assembly.
The Maoist rebels should have dropped the idea of a republic and accepted a constitutional monarchy. The government should also have acceded to a referendum for elections of a constituent assembly. Pleasing everyone is not possible in politics. In a multiparty system, agreements and disagreements are bound to happen. The political parties should submit a proposal to the king for an all-party government. Under the current circumstances, the king is not to be blamed at all. He already entrusted the government with responsibilities and so the latter should function, not the king. An article in the constitution clearly states that for the larger interest of the country the king will protect the constitution and will also follow it.
The king had no other choice but to sack the elected prime minister last year. After the royal palace massacre, King Gyanendra became the head of the state. He has ruled within the parameters of constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy. The king has the duty to use his rights to maintain law and order. The fact that the palace has deployed army, police and the armed police force proves that it has certainly felt threatened by the Maoist insurgency. King Birendra was of the opinion that the government should hold talks with Maoist rebels. I agree that the rebels should give up arms and reach an understanding through talks. I believe that they can also take part in elections.
There could have been some dialogue between the palace and the rebels through mediators in the past. The king appointed Surya Bahadur Thapa as prime minister in line with the condition of the country, the mindset of the people and the international context. He saw no solution coming from the five parties. The duty of the Raj Parishad is to counsel the king whenever he wants it. During my tenure with the Raj Parishad, we used to send our representatives to different districts. They used to come back with reports on the people's opinions and feelings. Based on that information, we counselled the king.
There has to be an understanding between the king and the parties. It is important for peace, solution of the Maoist problem and to provide a direction to the country. The political parties should stop being suspicious about the king and instead take him into their confidence.