Digging Deeper on Nepal
A brief timeline of Nepal’s modern history:
- 1959: The first democratic elections are held for parliament. Monarchy and democracy exist side-by-side.
- 1960: King Mahendra dismisses the first democratically elected government of Nepal. In 1962, he promulgates a constitution that eliminates the role of political parties and rests power with the palace. This is known as the Panchayat system.
- 1990: After a Jana Andolan (People’s Movement), a new constitution is created, which limits the role of the monarch. It is rejected by the left parties. Multi-party democracy is restored.
- 1991: Nepal holds elections, and Girija Prasad Koirala of the Nepali Congress (NC) is elected prime minister.
- 1996: The Maoists (Communist Party of Nepal) launch a “People’s War” to challenge the parliamentary system — often violently. Civil war breaks out.
- 2001: The royal family is assassinated, likely by Prince Dipendra, who later dies in hospital. King Birendra’s younger brother, Prince Gyanendra, is crowned the new monarch and struggles to stabilize his government.
2005–06 : Gyanendra declares a state of emergency, cracking down on press and protests.
- 2007–2008: The Nepali monarchy ends, and former Maoist rebels become political victors and win a majority in the parliament.