Seven years is not a long time in a country´s political history. But during this period Nepal has seen unfettered political promiscuity.

It is, to some, a horrific reflection of the state of Nepali politics that Lokendra Bahadur Chand is back in the prime minister´s chair. Mr Chand´s earlier appointment as prime minister towards the culmination of the 1990 "People´s Movement" saw the largest-ever mass protest in Nepal´s history. Granted, the non-menacing Mr Chand´s appointment then was meant to be seen as a conciliatory move by King Birendra. But that day, 6 April 1990, saw the massacre of unarmed demonstrators by security forces in front of the royal palace. Mr. Chand, as leader of the "royalists" went on to establish the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP). He represented the palace in negotiations with leaders of the popular movement and the smashing of his limousine by agitated cadres of the Nepali Congress and the communists during the talks indicated the depth to which the Panchayat pols had fallen in public esteem.

The 6 April massacre ushered the end of the King´s legitimacy to rule absolutely, and two days later he lifted the ban on political parties, effectively ending the Panchayat system.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian