Thoughts of Nepal’s King Gyanendra [2008/02/18]
Yohei Sasakawa (left) and King Gyanendra
Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, visited Nepal from February 1 to 5 to observe the status of leprosy in the country. Following his inspection of local sites, he had an audience with King Gyanendra for the first time in about two years, the last being in November 2006.
The king has a deep understanding of leprosy elimination activities and thinks highly of the efforts of Chairman Sasakawa, commenting, “Leprosy elimination activities are being carried out in a very intelligent way. Attempting to end not only the disease but also discrimination is a wonderful approach.”
At present, with the constituent assembly vote coming up in April, security in Nepal has deteriorated and extremists have carried out bombings in various locations to obstruct the election process. In regard to this, the king implied that the decision as to the continuation of the monarchy should be left to the public, saying, “You may notice that there have been a lot of changes in this country since we last met … the constitutional assembly election must be carried out freely, fairly, peacefully, and safely. If that happens, I believe the many citizens of this nation will come together and make the right choices.”
Since the political change in April 2006, King Gyanendra has not appeared in public and has kept his silence. However, he voluntarily answered questions from the Japanese reporters accompanying Chairman Sasakawa--the first time since 2006 that he has expressed his political opinions to the foreign media.
Summary of the statement of King Gyanendra on February 4
The interim government, which consists of six ruling parties and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), agreed to abolish the monarchy at the end of 2007 and stipulated the transition to a republic in the interim constitution. However, this decision does not reflect the voice of a majority of the people. It is not democratic for party leaders alone to determine the political system. If a free, fair, peaceful, and safe election is conducted, I believe that most people will choose monarchy. The election should reflect the voice of the people. Democracy needs to be strengthened in each village and at the grass-roots level. I hope everything will be democratized.
It is said that the majority of the people do not have opportunities to express their opinions and do not have freedom to choose. Katmandu is only a part of Nepal. The voices of people living in the hills and mountains as well as in the Terai region are not being listened to. Unfortunately, I have been informed that not everything goes well under the interim government in Nepal. Laws are not being upheld and public order is disturbed. Nepal was once a peaceful and stable country, but we now find ourselves in dire circumstances.
Some of the leaders in the interim government act contrary to the cultural, social, and traditional values of Nepal. Many people recognize this fact, and evaluate if such actions are right.
It is my desire that the international media go to the streets and directly ask people what they think. They should more frequently speak with ordinary people in Nepal and report the situation to international society.
*The movie is here.