From our man in Kathmandu – In all probability the King will be deposed with the next few months.
The Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists are back at the negotiating table and have ruled out a referendum on the fate of the King, his last hope of reprieve.
All his property, personal and royal, has been nationalised and he is already being spoken of in the past tense.
Despite increasing pro-monarchy demonstrations, the SPA and the communist insurgents have agreed that HM will be handed the Royal mitten following a vote in the first meeting of the next Constituent Assembly early next year.
The only point still in debate is whether the ultimate act of constitutional emasculation shall be licit with a simple or two-thirds majority.
It gives a very good indication of the democratic credentials of the SPA that they do not feel the need to go to the polls.
Yet HM remains undeterred. Staring at a likely choice between exile and ceremonial execution, lesser men would quail. Yet for this reason, Kings are chosen by God and not man. Gyanendra Shah of sterner stuff is made.
Today he defied the oligarchical cabal and issued Royal greetings and felicitations to the President of Austria, Dr. Henz Fisher, extending his best wishes for the President’s health and the happiness of the Austrian people on the occasion of their national day.
The King issues his personal falicitations to all heads of state on the occasion of their national days, virtually the only thing he still can do. As Prime Minister Koirala has begun to do likewise, HM’s persistence has become a sign of defiance.
The future, barring civil war, looks very grim indeed for the King. It seems difficult to believe he was absolute ruler here only six months ago.
The speed with which his power has ebbed is a testament to his resolve to permit democratic reform, even at his own expense. The doggedness with which he continues in his few remaining functions, and vigour with which he still tours the country show the commitment of a man born to be King.