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New Left Review 49, January-February 2008


The overthrow of the monarchy in Nepal, brought about by a prolonged people’s war and massive popular mobilizations. Achin Vanaik sets out the complex socio-historical backdrop to the Second Democratic Revolution of 2006, the ensuing struggle for a new republic, and the tactical challenges facing the CPN-M.

ACHIN VANAIK

THE NEW HIMALAYAN REPUBLIC

A world-historic event occurred in a small South Asian country on 23 December 2007, when the toppling of the centuries-old Nepali monarchy and its replacement by a democratic federal republic was codified by the country’s interim parliament. [1] This brings the number of monarchies recognized as un states down to 27. I am greatly indebted to Anand Swaroop Verma and Pramod Kaphley for their practical help, without which this article could not have been written. I have benefited from their sound advice on many matters, but of course responsibility for the views presented here is mine alone. The political force principally responsible for this achievement has been the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Starting from the early 1990s the cpn-m had embarked, against all received wisdom, on a strategy of underground armed struggle which, within a decade, propelled it to the very forefront of Nepali politics. Militarily, it had fought to a stalemate—at the very least—the Royal Nepal Army. Politically, it had redefined the national agenda with its central demand for an elected Constituent Assembly, to draw up a constitution that would in turn ensure the formation of a new kind of Nepali state—republican, democratic, egalitarian, federal and secular.




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