Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Goodbye Mr Shah

By accepting the decision of an elected assembly to declare Nepal a republic and by vacating the palace in the stipulated time, ex-king Gyanendra's moves have been proper, correct and satisfactory. This has allowed the formality to be completed for the transition from monarchy to republic.

The king put on a brave, smiling face at the chaotic press conference at the palace on Wednesday. He addressed his remarks to "Nepali brothers and sisters", not to his "subjects" anymore. His statement was polite, dignified and hopeful. He dwelled on the royal massacre, his assets and his record over the past seven years as king. He tried to justify his actions, saying it was to "restore peace in the then Hindu nation" and that it was unsuccessful for "various reasons". He didn't elaborate on those reasons, and that was the big gap in his remarks. He did not dwell on his inability to understand the public mood, he turned the country's politics upside down in seven years, he violated civic rights, and he sidelined the political parties.

Even so, by accepting the implementation of a republic he has shown considerable understanding. He can now devote his life in whatever profession, business or service he chooses as a citizen to help the country. But if he tries to rally together the political losers in any way, he will not get the same goodwill and respect with which he has been treated.

Editorial in Naya Patrika, 12 June

As former King Gyanendra read a 17-minute speech and left the room thanking the press for coming, it was a new chapter in political history, not only of Nepal but in the world. In history, apart from a few exceptions, a republic was introduced only after the king had either been killed or forced to leave the country. But our former king read his written speech to the press and tv channels broadcasted it live. With his acceptance of the republic, any doubt about the implementation of the republic became clear. The republic has now been approved. In his statement he spent much time justifying his past deeds, but he also accepted the people's verdict.

Nepal has presented to the world the exemplary exit of a king and the institutionalisation of a republic. It shows the political maturity of the people, political parties and to some extent the former king. A conventional political force has formally vanished from the Nepali political scene. Now the onus is on the elected political parties to end the political dispute and decide the way ahead. Political parties in the past used to team up sometimes with the palace, sometimes with foreigners, to achieve their interests. But now a new environment has been created for the political parties where they can prioritise national issues for themselves and work to achieve them. This has bolstered nationalism and reduced the risk of foreign interference in Nepali politics. As a citizen, this is also the victory of Gyanendra Shah and his family.

Pitamber Sigdel and Rupesh Acharya in Annapurna Post, 12 June

At 5.30 PM on Wednesday, Kaski Baithak in Narayanhiti Palace was packed with journalists. The former king looked his composed self and looked no different from any political figure in a press conference.

Standing amongst such a large crowd of journalists, Gyanendra joined his hands in a Namaste until he sat down. Seeing the room, previously used for the prime minister's oath taking, teeming with journalists he was perplexed for a while.

For the first five minutes he could not speak due to the shuttering of the cameras. Even after he had asked them to stop clicking pictures and put his red framed glasses on the table, the crowd did not stop.

It was only after he raised both his hands and asked for silence that the crowd quietened. A calm Gyanendra looked very sentimental when he talked about the royal massacre and the charges against his family. There was no anger, hostility and sadness in his speech.

During the 15-minute speech, his gaze hovered around the journalists although it was primarily centred on the paper on the table. When the journalists asked him questions, he smiled and said: "No questions, thank you for coming!"

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)