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The Nepalese Constitutional Assembly has voted to abolish the country's monarchy.
The Nepalese Constitutional Assembly has voted to abolish the country's monarchy.

The main task now is to draft a constitution, which will take about two years; and for the time being, the assembly will act as parliament.

The transformation at the foothills of Mount Everest was preceded by incredible events and conflicts, which could only have taken place in a country where Buddha himself lived until he was 29.

There is no clear explanation why Nepal renounced its king, who was once revered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, although the shocking results of the parliamentary elections in April and an almost complete transfer of the country's power and destiny into the hands of the Maoist Communist Party do shed some light on the issue. Communist (and socialist) manifestos have always been permeated with so much religious idealism that maybe even Buddha contributed to them.

It is obvious that King Gyanendra, the 12th monarch of the Himalayan Kingdom, who was removed from power, was part of the reason for the transformation. He will end the 240 year-long history of the Shah Nepalese dynasty, and the world's last Hindu monarchy. His Majesty came to power after a massacre in 2001 when Crown Prince Dipendra got drunk at a dinner and murdered almost the entire royal family (nine people), including Gyanendra's older brother King Birendra, before turning the gun on himself. This was the worst royal massacre in history after the murder of the Romanovs.

The new incarnation of Lord Vishnu did not behave as the ruler of the world's 12th poorest country should (average per capita income of $260 per year). Despite the advice of his ministers, this lover of astrology and expensive limos tossed money to the wind (his son was even worse), dissolved parliament and usurped power.

Driven to despair by these royal escapades, the MPs and the government made friends with the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-M) in 2006. Gyanendra was deprived of all power and basically ousted from his throne at that time. The CPN-M had been waging a guerrilla war against the monarchy since 1996, which took 13,000 lives.

The parliamentary elections on April 10 brought many surprises. The CPN-M, which was expected to occupy third place, received a majority in Nepal's 601-seat parliament, whose composition is too complicated to be even mentioned.

Incidentally, the Western media are stubbornly hushing up the fact that parliament and life in the country will be communist to the core. Although the Nepali Congress will be second in terms of seats, third place is occupied by the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), also known as CPN-UML. These Communists will have allies - the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Unified Communist Party, the United Communist Party, and the Workers and Peasants Party.

No other country in the world has so many communist parties. It is interesting to note that all Nepal's "untouchables," which amount to 14% of its population, voted for the CPN-M. The Nepalese are used to the abundance of lords rather than parties. In this context it would be inappropriate to give exclusive credit to the Maoists for their victory. The monarchy was ousted not because they won, but out of hatred for the 60 year-old Gyanendra.

His ousting from power has not caused many problems. CPN-M leader, 53 year-old Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is better known under his nom-de-guerre, Prachanda ( "the fierce one" in Nepali), has promised that the king will leave his throne with dignity. He will become a common citizen; he will not go to prison and will even keep his numerous tea and tobacco plantations, although all palaces will be confiscated by the state, and he will be deprived of his annual allowance. In this sense, Prachanda has been more generous that his political idol Mao. Mao sent the last ruler of the Celestial Empire Pu Yi to prison and released him only several years before his death.

In general, Prachanda seems to be a thoroughly modern Maoist. In his first statement after the decision on the king was made, he declared that Nepal would follow a socialist road in medicine, education and social security but would not adhere to the "capitalist mode of production."

Reconciliation with the Maoists and their victory has not scared off tourists from Nepal. To the contrary, their flow is steadily increasing. This year, Nepal expects to play host to half a million tourists - twice the number of three years ago.

Now that Gyanendra is gone, there will be 26 monarchs left in the world (including kings, emperors, sheiks, and grand dukes). This is not counting the Vatican, which is Europe's only absolute monarchy.

All other European monarchs are constitutional, with the exception of Spain. It calls its form of rule a "parliamentary monarchy," although even a very educated Spaniard finds it hard to see how it is different from a "constitutional" one.

Asia has the largest number of monarchs - 13. The most respected ones are the emperor of Japan and the king of Thailand. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is currently the world's longest ruling monarch. Africa has only three kings left.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.


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