Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Who’s playing by the rules? Who’s not?

(An analysis responding to King Gyanendra's comments on the following issues, which first appeared in Samacharpatra 19 August)

Since the monarchy played a part in the formation of the constitution, the king's participation is necessary in national debate.
The king has abided by the constitution, but the political parties have not
The government is functioning by neglecting the people, the situation is serious
The monarch is keen to play a larger role but all within the parameters set by the constitution.

Now let us analyse the present situation. It is three months since the king was crowned, 83 days, to be precise. The country has become more peaceful after his enthronement-the government and the Maoists have declared a truce and are in the process of carrying out a dialogue. The Maoists, who began their violent campaign aimed at overthrowing the king and this system, are now ready to negotiate with government under the existing system. The relationship between the government and the opposition parties is better than it was in the past. At a time when everything positive is happening, who helped the monarch reach the conclusion that the government was neglecting the people? Because both houses of parliament are functioning according to the expectations of the constitution, at times it has even provided checks and balances on executive decisions. They have corrected many wrong decisions and recommended punishment of wrong doers. Even persons nominated by His Majesty, at his discretion, are members of the body. Again His Majesty, by constitution, is an inseparable part of the parliament and executive, and so if the people have been neglected, His Majesty has also contributed towards that. After all, our executive is known as His Majesty's Government. No Nepali with a memory can believe His Majesty's view that the king has abided by the constitution and political parties have not. Because, on the 22nd day of his enthronement, His Majesty violated the spirit of the constitution by nominating Upper House members.

Let us look at the other two wishes of His Majesty-His Majesty seems keen to participate, and also to seek an increased role within the constitution. Our present constitution advocates constitutional monarchy in a multi-party democracy. The power now lies with the sovereign people and not with the monarch. But in keeping with the letter and spirit of the constitution, the entire executive is an institution of His Majesty and therefore the work it does cannot be without his knowledge. The entire government machinery is His Majesty's own institution, therefore His Majesty's participation in government is implied. That is why His Majesty does not need to be present in all decisions, or send his representative, because the constitution does not envisage that. Anyone who represents the government automatically represents His Majesty. Whoever may be in government-NC, UML, RPP, ML, Maoists or Save the Nation-His Majesty can always seek a briefing. It is the responsibility of the prime minister to ensure that. Therefore whatever or whoever is prompting His Majesty to seek a share, here and there, to be one party in the formulation of the constitution, this person, for their own benefit, is misleading His Majesty to violate the constitution by pointing fingers at political parties. It is a matter of some urgency that His Majesty understand this.

Who is misleading His Majesty? Let us discuss the person. The 16 July issue of Kantipur carried an article with the headline, \'Possibility of the Maoists changing their views on the Monarch." It said that at the request of a representative close to the palace, the rebels had changed their views about the king. Until then the Maoists had been directing their ire at the King-Prime Minister (Girija Koirala) nexus. The same story says that King Gyanendra was in touch with the Maoists through a mediator.

Everyone know the source of the Kantipur story, its reporter, editor and publishers, and even the readers, because readers are aware that the person's name is associated with many major stories that appear in the daily. During Birendra's reign, his picture was even printed alongside a news item that spoke of the king's meeting with Maoist leaders Babu Ram and Prachanda. There is still time to assess what he did and what he did not do using King Birendra's name, as MP. Using the monarch's name he tried to be the chairman of the Upper House. Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai knew of the ploy and the Congress did not support his candidature. He was defeated and to avenge that, he sided with Koirala and helped Koirala topple Bhattarai, within nine months. In return, he got Koirala to agree to make him foreign minister in the new government. But this was not possible for a majority party, and Koirala did not comply. He then shifted his energies to scheme for Koirala's ouster. The 16 July article clearly shows this. Does the king have the right to use a nominated MP against the Prime Minister? Were all these acts committed with knowledge and approval of the king? Saying "attack the prime minister but not the monarch," means that there is a group actively trying to create a rift between the king, government and the prime minister. (A \'group', because after his unsuccessful candidacy for the Upper House chairmanship, then king Birendra is said to have said: "If I had asked him to contest would I ask MPs to vote for the ruling party?") It is that circle that has been pulling the king into controversy. Some Upper House nominees of the former king, who are now retired, were in the news for being engaged in human trafficking. Some MPs even used the king's name to seek favours from certain embassies and ambassadors. The group cashing in on the monarch's name has been going around creating a rift between king and government and planting seeds of disunity in political parties. The 16 July article also underscores that the Maoists could themselves be a creation of this group. Otherwise why should the Maoists, ostensibly out to set up a republic, listen to their orders? How could the leader of the group become the contact for talks between the king and the Maoists? It is clear that this same group is ordering the king to seek a greater role within the constitutional framework.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)