Kathmandu: Nepal`s dethroned king
Gyanendra Shah on Thursday expressed concern over the political
crisis in the country, saying he had never imagined that such
a situation would emerge following the abolishment of the
centuries-old monarchy in 2008.
Gyanendra, who celebrated his 65th birthday today, was
greeted by hundreds of his supporters in the capital where he
now lives like a private citizen.
The deposed king said the country has edged towards
further crisis after the abolishment of the 240-year-old
monarchy in May 2008.
Nepal has been been faced with political instability
since Gyanandra was forced to give up absolute power in 2006
following a popular movement.
The political parties have failed to push forward a
landmark peace process inked in 2006 that ended the Maoist-led
They have failed to draft a new constitution for the
young republic even though the term of the 601-member
Constituent Assembly, which functions as the country`s
parliament, has been extended twice.
"I had not thought that the situation like this would
emerge following the abolishment of monarchy, but I pray for
the peace and prosperity of Nepali people," Gyanendra said.
At the same time, he maintained that there is still no
need to be pessimistic regarding the situation in the country.
He wished for peace and prosperity of the country,
according to a statement issued on the occasion.
Earlier, the birth anniversary of Gyanendra was marked
as a public holiday.
Security was stepped up today at `Nirmal Niwas`, which
has been the residence of the former king since he left the
Narayanhiti Palace in the heart of the capital in June 2008.
Family members, former ministers and officials,
leaders of pro-royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal),
and large number of his supporters gathered at his residence
to greet Gyanendra, eye-witnesses said.
The dethroned monarch has kept a low profile since
mass protests against Gyanendra, who became the king in 2001
after the death of his elder brother Birendra in a palace
massacre, culminated in the country being declared a republic.
The former monarch, however, has appeared at public
and religious functions, including visiting important temples
across the country amid pomp and show.
Supporters of the monarchy in Nepal, where kings have
been revered as the reincarnation of the Lord Vishnu, have
demanded a national referendum to decide if the monarchy
should be revived.
It comes amid growing disillusionment in the country,
with political parties failing to live up to the expectations
of the people.