Nepal’s Transformation from Monarchism to Republicanism: In Views of General Public
This paper, based on longitudinal public opinion surveys conducted between December 2004 and April 2012, argues that though majority of the Nepali people was in the favour of retaining the institution of monarchy till a few months prior to the declaration of republicanism by the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly in May 2008, the majority people (though not by a big margin) have approved the republicanism by April 2012. Analysis of the longitudinal data also helps giving insights on the relationship between political events and public opinions. A large segment of the Nepali populace came to think that monarchy was not necessary after the successful end of the Jan Andolan II in April 2006 because Seven-Party Alliance and the UCPN (Maoist) had already declared abolishing of monarchy after the successful end of the movement. Once the movement was undertaken successfully, this led to lessen ordinary public’s support toward monarchy and increase their support toward republicanism. The surveys data reveal that the agenda of republicanism holds up more to hill caste group, hill indigenous group and hill Dalits than other groups. Tarai indigenous group and Muslims are divided between monarchists and republicans while majority of Madhesi caste group and Madhesi Dalits are still more likely to support the monarchy. But on the whole, more Nepali people are favouring republicanism in these days. Supporters of the UCPN (Maoist) and other small leftist parties have overwhelmingly preferred for a republican state while supporters of the Nepali Congress, CPN (UML) and Tarai based regional parties have moderate support toward republicanism. In contrast, supporters of small rightist parties have tremendous preference toward monarchism. This paper also establishes that the public’s opinion on the issue of secularism and lingualism significantly corroborates to the public’s opinion on the issue of republicanism. Multiple regression analyses confirm that supporters of secularism are more likely to support the republicanism while the supporters of Hinduism are more likely to support the monarchism. On the other, supporters of Nepali language as the only official language are more likely to support the republicanism while the supporters of other languages as the official languages at the local are more likely to support the monarchism. This may be due to the favouritism of Madhesi caste group and Madhesi Dalits toward the monarchism who also want the Nepali state to recognize other languages spoken in the country as the official languages at the local level.