Key issues in the Kingdom
Why the violent street protests, clashes and recurring strikes? What is hampering the Himalayan Kingdom's peace?india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 17:27 IST
The Royal coup
The latest crisis in the Himalayan Kingdom was triggered on February 1, 2005, when King Gyanendra sacked the government, declared a state of emergency and assumed absolute power himself, saying the move was needed to crush a Maoist revolt in which more than 13,000 people have been killed since 1961.
In September 2005, Nepal's largest political party, the Nepali Congress, dropped a 60-year-old written pledge to uphold the constitutional monarchy. The same month the Maoists announced a unilateral ceasefire which the government refused to match. The truce was called off four months later.
The Maoists want to topple the monarchy and set up a single party communist republic. Analysts say that the rebels now control roughly 40% of Nepalese territory.
They want a special committee to be set up to draft a new Constitution for the country, which would offer the option of abolishing the monarchy.
The room for negotiations has been restricted by the king's decision to assume executive powers and dismiss successive prime ministers he appointed after parliament was suspended in October 2002.
The Maoists entered into a loose alliance with the seven main political parties in November 2005, to cooperate to end the absolute powers of the king. The Maoists pledged an eventual return to the political mainstream.
The political parties want democracy in Nepal to be restored immediately.