Will Maoists do better than monarchs in Nepal?
Nepal’s legislature voted overwhelmingly to abolish the country’s 239-year-old Hindu monarchy and establish a republic. The newly elected Constituent Assembly is led by former Maoist rebels who dominated elections last month. The assembly gave King Gyanendra 15 days to vacate his main Katmandu palace, which will be turned into a national museum. Nepal was the last remaining Hindu kingdom. (AP in International Herald Tribune)
What the commentators said
“The collapse of a royal dynasty is a rare event,” said Britain’s The Daily Telegraph in an editorial. And while this newspaper is pro-monarchy, it’s “hard to feel much sympathy for the House of Shah,” which was so inept that it lost “power through the ballot box” to Maoist guerrillas known for “terror and extortion.” Maybe the rebels will do a better job.
The Maoists' war caused “untold physical and psychological damage,” said the journal Nepal Monitor in an editorial. But though the Maoists’ means were “undemocratic,” they deserve the credit for pushing Nepal into becoming a republic. Now the real work begins, starting with economic development. “Abstract ideas of ‘federalism’ and ‘republicanism’ will mean nothing” to Nepalis if they can’t eat.
Nepal can “thrive,” said Gina Cobb in her eponymous blog, if it “emulates the democracy, economic freedom, and protection of individual liberty” found in the U.S., Japan, and other successful democracies. “But if Nepal simply trades rule by monarchy for rule by Maoist autocrats, the poverty of its people will continue and will probably worsen.”
Any progress will require “consensus,” said Govind Talwalkar in India’s The Asian Age. But don’t hold your breath. The Maoists and Nepal’s historically “bankrupt and quarrelsome” political parties don’t seem "mentally and emotionally attuned” for the tough and necessary negotiations about how to structure the government and whether to integrate the rebels into the army.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: November 28, 2014
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week