Skip to main content

Nepal king sacks government, takes control of nation

Nepali King Gyanendra fired the prime minister and disbanded his Cabinet on charges of being incompetent and failing to hold parlimentary elections.
Nepali King Gyanendra fired the prime minister and disbanded his Cabinet on charges of being incompetent and failing to hold parlimentary elections.

   Story Tools


KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Nepal's King Gyanendra has taken control of government in the Himalyan kingdom after firing Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and disbanding the Cabinet.

The action was announced late Friday in an address on state television. It is unprecedented in modern Nepal's short democratic history and sets the stage for a political and constitutional crisis.

King Gyanendra, reading from a prepared text, announced he was ignoring the prime minister's advice to postpone elections by more than a year to November 19, 2003.

Instead, he said, he was removing Deuba for failing to hold elections on time and taking over the executive powers of the nation until further notice.

"By using the authority vested in me by the constitution, I remove the prime minister, who proved unable to hold elections on time. I also assume all executive authority until further arrangements are made," the king said.

The king also announced that the previously scheduled elections on November 13 have been postponed till further notice.


The king said, however, he was committed to the ideals of constitutional monarchy and wanted political parties to forward names of politicians within five days so as to set up a new government which would be given the task of holding the elections.

In May, the monarch had heeded Deuba's advice and had dissolved the House of Representatives and set the date of elections for November 13. But the deteriorating law and order situation due to the on-going Maoist rebellion convinced Deuba and other political parties that elections could not be held in November this year.

On Thursday, Deuba recommended King Gyanendra to postpone the polls to November 19 next year. The King began consultations with constitutional experts and political leaders and came up with his Friday's decision.

Prime Minister Sher Bahdur Deuba
Prime Minister Sher Bahdur Deuba

The last such action was taken by the present King's father, King Mahendra, in 1960 when he removed the late Prime Minister Bisheshwar Prasad Koirala through what is today referred as a "royal coup." King Mahendra went on to institute the Panchayat system of government, which was widely discredited for being corrupt and autocratic.

A mass movement in 1990 finally persuaded the late King Birendra, the present monarch's elder brother, to lift the ban on political parties and turn the absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. Since then, Nepal has been a vibrant, if often unruly, multi-party democracy.

The swift political developments in Nepal today was in the making for quite some time, and was essentially brought about by the Maoist rebellion that began in 1996.

So far, more than 5,900 people have been killed in the insurgency, according to human rights groups. The rebels are demanding a republican state.

Story Tools

Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure
© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.