King plays king-maker
King Gyanendra of Nepal has appointed Sher Bahadur Deuba – whose dismissal in October 2002 has sparked off Nepal’s constitutional crisis in the first place – as the new Prime Minister. Deuba will have full executive powers but his appointment falls short of a ‘reinstatement’, which would have been tantamount to the King admitting that the October 2002 dismissal was a mistake.
Deuba was only too willing to take up the position, even if it meant compromising on the political parties’ insistence on a revival of the parliamentary process first. Deuba will be required to hold parliamentary elections soon. But the crisis in Nepal is far from over.
Even if Deuba were accepted by all political parties, the restoration of peace and free and fair elections would be a tall order. It in inconceivable that the Maoists would agree to mere constitutional reforms. And it is hard to understand how a King who does not want to remain fully within the 1990 Constitution, as testified by his successive moves, will agree to cede more to make peace with the Maoists, who insist on constituent assembly and a new constitution as their minimum demands. The days ahead, therefore, threaten to be no less turbulent. [Himalayan Times]