Contrary to almost every report, a majority in Nepal are still loyal subjects of His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, according to a sensational new opinion poll.
The poll, conducted by the Kathmandu-based research institute Interdisciplinary Analyst, was conducted in 35 districts of the country and involved interviews with 3,000 people.
The results will come as a big surprise to the many politicians, pundits and republican fanatics who have been predicting the certain and rapid abolition of Nepal’s monarchy.
Hidden away in news reports, carefully obscured by other poll results which favour constituent assembly elections and Maoist participation in government, is the bombshell that a full 54 percent of the respondents are in favour of retaining the monarchy, while only 39 percent are against.
The poll does state the obvious when it reveals that 87 percent of respondents felt that the popularity of the monarchy had declined, but interestingly 40 percent said that this was related to the royal massacre of 2001 (when the then-Crown Prince slaughtered his father and other family members before killing himself), and only 32 percent linked the decline in popularity with King Gyanendra’s actions.
The incredible silence in Nepal’s media about this result is breathtaking. Only Prime Minister Koirala (whom the King imprisoned during his glorious few months as absolute monarch) has been brave enough to stand like Horatius and resist calls for a republic, instead advocating a so-called ceremonial monarchy.
Almost everyone else has presumed that the popular uprising earlier in the year indicated that support for the monarchy had disappeared, but now it appears that they ‘do protest too much’.
It is clear that the republican bluster from Maoists and members of the Seven-Party Alliance government is no more that a ploy to pull the wool over the eyes of the people and establish a republic through pure momentum.
Happily, democracy in action may thwart their plans, and His Majesty might yet manage to rule another day.