Politically Nepal at present is functioning within Republic framework. Currently President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav is the head of the state. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai is the Prime Minister and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and his cabinet and the legislative power is in the hands of Constituent Assembly.
On May 28, 2008, Monarchy in Nepal ended by the Constituent Assembly to make the country a republic.
Politically the first rulers of Nepal were the Kirats. Kirats ruled Nepal for about 1000 years (800 BC to 300 AD). Very little is known about this period in the history of Nepal. Nepal was ruled by about total of 28 kings during Kirat regime. The first Kirati king was Yalambar.
One of the remarkable events of this era is the arrival of Gautam Buddha. During the regime of the seventh Kirati king Buddha spent his time in Patan. Where he granted blacksmith caste of goldsmiths and renamed them Sakya.
The great emperor of India, Ashoka, also visited Katmandu during this period. His daughter Charumati married a local prince and spread the religion.
The second known rulers of Nepal are the Lichhavis. Lichhavi Dynasty ruled Nepal from 300 to 600 A.D. This period is the first documented period in the history of Nepal. When Lichhavies, lost their political fortune in India, came to Nepal. They attacked and defeated the last Kirati king, Gasti. They were the Rajputs, from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh of today’s India. Mandev is one of the Lichhavi king of Nepal. He was known for his development work.
Thakuri Dynasty (600-1200 A. D.) was the third known dynasty of Nepal. With the rise of Amsuverma in 602 AD Thakuri dynasty began to rise in Nepal. He was not a Lichhavi, but he married a daughter of the Lichhavi king, Shiva Dva. He was one of the true servants of people. He was a far-sighted king and a great diplomat. His sister and his daughter Bhrikuti were married to an Indian prince and Tibet’s powerful King Tsrong -tsong Gompo respectively. Bhrikuti sprayed Buddhism all over Tibet.
Malla Dynasty (1200 - 1769 AD) came to the valley until 1200 AD. The Malla Period is a golden era in the history of Nepal. The Mallas greatly developed trade and commerce, industry, religion and culture. They reached a high level of perfection in the fields of art and architecture. The early Malla monarchs held absolute power they were assumed to be incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The Mallas were Hindu and followed strict Brahmin rituals. But they were tolerant of Buddhism. Buddhism was widespread at that part of time. Some of the most popular kings of this period and their accomplishments are:
Jayasthiti Malla (1354-1395)
Jayasthiti Malla was one of the most famous of all the Malla Kings. He was a great reformer. He categorized Nepalese society in a strictly orthodox Hindu frame. He developed arts and literature, built temples and introduced the system of measuring land and houses.
Pratap Malla was the King of Kantipur (present Katmandu). He was anspecialist in religion, music, and the art of war. He was a secular. He also reconstructed the Buddhist temple of Swayambunath. He constructed Krishna Mandir, the temple of Taleju, Rani Pokhari, and Guheswari temple.
Jaya Prakash Malla
Jaya Prakash was the last King of Kantipur. He was brave and confident but unlucky. He tried to save the Valley from a Gorham attack. He tried to unite the three states around Katmandu. But he could not succeed. Even his request for help from the East India Company was denied. Fighting within his family was to blame for his loss.
Ranjit Malla was the last King of Bhaktapur. He was a lover of rare and precious things. He Imported silver exporting it as coins to improve economic conditions in his Kingdom.
During the middle of the 18th Century, there were about 500 small states in India and about 50 states in Nepal. The situation was completely chaotic because most of them were fighting each other to expand their territory. And then among them was Prithvi Narayan Shah from Gorkha. He wanted to save Nepal from the hands of British India. He started the process by unifying the small states. In 1768, after ten years of preparation, siege, and attack, Katmandu fell to Gorkha on the day of Indra jatra. Prithvi Narayan died in 1775. His son Pratap singh Shah then ruled the country. Nepal expanded its territory from Tistha and Kangada. By 1810, the kingdom extended from Kashmir to Sikkim and was double than its present size.
1. Prithivinarayan shah
Date of birth : 1723 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1742 -1775 A.D.)
Date of Death : 1775 A.D.
2. Pratapsingh Shah
Date of birth : 1751 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1774 -1777 A.D.)
Date of Death :1777 A.D.
3. Rana Bahadur Shah
Date of birth : 1775 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1777- 1798 A.D.)
Date of Death : 1806 A.D.
4. Girwanyudha Bikram Shah
Date of birth : 1797 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1798 -1816 A.D.)
Date of Death :1816 A.D.
5. Rajendra Bir Bikram Shah
Date of birth : 1813 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1816 -1847 A.D.)
Date of Death : 1881 A.D.
6. Surendra Bir Bikram Shah
Date of birth :1829 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1847 -1881 A.D.)
Date of Death :1881 A.D.
7. Treelokya Bir Bikram Shah*
Date of birth :1847 A.D.
Date of Death :1877 A.D.
8. Prithivi Bir Bikram Shah
Date of birth :1875 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1881 -1911 A.D.)
Date of Death :1911 A.D.
9. Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah
Date of birth :1906 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1911 -1954 A.D.)
Date of Death :1954 A.D.
10.Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah
Date of birth :1920 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1954 -1972 A.D.)
Date of Death :1972 A.D.
11.Birendra Bir Bikram Shah
Date of birth :1945 A.D.
Duration of rule : (1971 -2001 A.D.)
Date of Death :2001 A.D.
12.Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah**
Date of birth :1971 A.D.
Duration of rule : (2001 -2001 A.D.)
Date of Death :2001 A.D.
13.Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
Date of birth : 1947 A.D.
Duration of rule : (2001-2006)
*Treelokya Bir Bikram shah could not be the king although he was crown prince because of his early death.
**Dipendra Bir Bikram was announced king for a day before he died.
The rise of Junga Bahadur brought a new system of Nepal. After Kot Massacar took place, Nepal was controlled by a new system of Primeministership until 1951 for 204 years.
Junga Bahadur Rana was a good diplomat. In more than 30 years of his rule Junga Bahadur has done many developmental works. He stopped many superstitious beliefs in Nepali culture (like satiand boksi culture). As per sati culture a women had to be burned along with the dead husband’s body. He defeated the Chinese army and signed a treaty with them. He was the first one to held National census. After Junga Bahadur, his brothers became the prime minister of Nepal, that was they set as rule.
King Tribhubhan was in house arrest when people of Nepal had started coming together against the Rana rule. Dharma Bhakta a physical fitness teacher of king Tribhubhan. With the help of Dharma Bhakta he successfully escaped from his palace and took shelter in India. When king Tirbhubhan was in India along with most of his family members, his grandson Gyanandra Bir Bikram was declared king of nepal. But the people revolution was in fire hence the Rana’s had to let go of power. Democracy was declared in the month of Phalgun 2007.
The first election of Nepal was held in 1959. But one year later in 1960, King Mahendra dismissed the cabinet, dissolved parliament, and put a ban on political parties. A 1962 constitution created a nonparty panchayat (council) system of government. In 1980 referendum approved a modified version of the panchayat system. Direct parliamentary elections were held in 1981.
Certain disputes with India led to economy sanction and border seal and sees from March 1989 to July 1990. This in return inflamed the demand for political reform. Months went by only when King Birendra dissolved parliament. In April 1990 the opposition formed an interim government. A new constitution was created with constitutional monarchy and bicameral legislature consisting of House of Representatives and a national council. The house of representative consisted of 205 members elected directly by the people and the national council had 60 members. Out of 60 national council members 10 were nominated by King, 35 elected by the House of Representatives and remaining 15 elected by an electoral college made up of chairs of villages and towns. The constitution came into account from November 9 1990.
Multiparty legislative election was held in May 1991. This legislature of country had the tenure of 5 years. Nepali congress won the election. The communist party became the opposition.
The government lost its parliamentary vote hence, making CPN UML (Communist party of Nepal unified Marxist and Leninist) formed a minority government. With Mana Mohan Adhikari as Priminister it became the first communist led monarchy in Asia.
The parliament dissolved once again due to certain disputes in Nepali Congress Party in mid of 1994.
Election was held in the month of November same year. None of the party got majority. This lead to several years of unstable coalition governments.
The lists of Prime minister during this period are
1999 elections: K.P. Bhattarai (31 May 1999–17 March 2000)
Girija Prasad Koirala (20 March 2000–19 July 2001)
Sher Bahadur Deuba (23 July 2001–2003).
February 1996, a different party named Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) started violent insurgency in more than 50 of 75 districts. Estimated about 13,000 police, civilians, and insurgents have been killed in the conflict.
In July 2001 Prime Minister Ser Bahadur Deuba announced a cease-fire with the Maoist. Maoists observed cease-fire too, as part of a government effort to seek negotiated solution to the conflict. But both their effort went into vain. They could not come to a solution. Even after the meeting with the government, intimidation and extortion continue from both sides. The government and Maoists held talks in August and September 2001.
Recall of 1991 consensus
In 1991 Political parties came to an agreement that the monarchy would remain to enhance political stability and provide an important symbol of national identity for the culturally diverse Nepali people. The King exercises limited powers, including the right to declare a state of emergency in the event of war or armed revolt, with the advice and consent of the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister. According to the constitution, the King's declaration of a state of emergency must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the lower house of the Parliament.
On June 1, 2001, King Birendra Queen Aishworya Prince Nirajan,Prince Dipendra, Princess Shruti along with other Royal relatives were killed in a massacre. An investigation team was set to find the reason and person behind the massacre. The team officially reported Prince Dipendra had done the massacre and killed himself. The people of Nepal have high disbelief in Dipendra killing his family.
Also the report was not able to provide enough evidence about Dipendra being the Killer. Amongst the other surviving member of the family, Gyanendra became the king of Nepal for the second time (he was put to thrown at the age of 4 when king Tribhubhan fled to India with his family).
King Gyanendra suspended the Parliament on1 February 2005. He then appointed a government led by himself, and enforced martial law. He argued that civil politicians were unfit to handle the Maoist insurgency. Communication system was shut down and several high-profile political leaders were detained. Some other leaders fled to India and regrouped there. A broad coalition called the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) was formed opposing the royal takeover, encompassing the seven parliamentary parties and dissolving the parliament.
In the year 2005 UN-OHCHR set up a monitoring program to assess and observe the human rights situation In Nepal. On 22 November 2005, the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoist agreed on a historic and extraordinary 12-point memorandum of understanding (MOU) for peace and democracy. Nepalese from various walks of life and the international community regarded the MOU as an appropriate political response to the developing crisis in Nepal. This led to a countrywide revolution for Loktantrik andolan. April 2006 loktantrik Andolan started and lasted for about 19 days. All political forces including civil society and professional organizations actively arranged the people. This resulted in massive and spontaneous demonstrations and rallies across Nepal against King Gyanendra's autocratic rule.
People's participation was huge, historic and persistent that the king feared being overthrown. On 21 April 2006, King Gyanendra historically declared that "power to be returned to the people". But this did not affect the people. They continued to occupy the streets of Kathmandu and other towns, openly challenging the daytime curfew. King Gyanendra defeatedly announced the recall the House of Representatives finally. On midnight of 24 April 2006, the alliance of political forces decided to call off the protests.
Twenty-one people died and thousands were injured during the 19 days of protests.
On 19 May 2006, the parliament gained total legislative power and gave executive power to the Government of Nepal which was previously known to be His Majesty's Government of Nepal. Names of many institutions were changed, with duties assigned to the Parliament. The activities of the King became subject to legislative analysis and the King's properties were subjected to taxation. Moreover, Nepal was declared a secular state abolishing the Hindu Kingdom.
On 19 July 2006, the prime minister, Girija Parsad Koirala sent a letter to the United Nations announcing the intention of the Nepalese government to hold elections to a constituent assembly by April 2007.
On 23 December 2007, an agreement was made for the monarchy to be abolished and the country to become a federal republic, with the Prime Minister becoming head of state. Maoist won the election held in the year 2008 and became the largest party in the parliament.
Nepal was then established as a federal republic in May 2008 with the vote against the change of all but four members of the 601-seat in Constituent Assembly. This ended 240 years of royalty in Nepal. The government declared public holiday for three days May 28 to May 30 to celebrate the country becoming a federal republic.
Major parties Maoist, Nepali congress and UML agreed to write a constitution replacing the interim constitution by 2010. Right after the elections in 2008, Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) became the Prime Minister of the country. CPN UML joined this government, but Nepali Congress decided to take the seat of the main opposition party. Soon that the country's situation started to deteriorate and political turmoil’s were in continued. Prachanda fell into a dispute with the then army chief Rookmangat Katwal and decided to fire him. But President Rambaran Yadav as the supreme head of military power in the country revoked this decision. Prachanda and his party quit the government to operate as the main opposition of the government. The government then was led by CPN UML and its co-partner Nepali Congres. Madhav Kumar Nepal who had lost 2008 election in 2 places became the Prime Minister. This government too could not last long due to non-cooperation and power oriented behavior of the political parties.
After Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Natha Khanal of CPN UML became the Primenister of the country. This government too did not last long. This led to formation of new government led by Babu Ram Bhattrai. In the beginning of his prime ministership, he gained good popularity due to some of his works. He decided to use Nepal made Mustang jeep rather than using expensive foreign vehicles. He initiated communicating a new system of direct communication with pubic through emails. He had his own website to keep track of what he was doing. He started follow ups to long pending road extensions in Kathmandu gave him more popularity.
The forcing closures known as bandhas have been increasing in the country and new political parties and groups are immerging with various demands.
Political leaders continue to discuss plans to end this turmoil, but none of the talks have been yet successful. Rising inflation, economic downturn, poverty, insecurity and uncertainty are the major problems.
The Constitution Assembly has been dissolved and people of Nepal are still waiting for new Constitution, peace and prosperity.
Source: Grolier's Encyclopedia