Wednesday 27th of June 2007
Nepal Palace Plans Gala Bash For King's 'diamond' Birthday
Wednesday 27th of June 2007 Ignoring calls by the prime minister to abdicate in favour of his five-year-old grandson, Nepal's King Gyanendra is throwing a lavish black-coat party in the palace next week to celebrate his 'diamond' birthday - just three months before the crucial election that could abolish his more than two-century-old crown.
Invitations have been issued in the name of Queen Komal to around 1,000 guests - the who's who of Nepal. They include Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who has asked the king and Crown Prince Paras to abdicate in favour of Paras' son, Hridayendra, in a last-ditch attempt to save the beleaguered crown.
The cocktail dinner, to be held at the Kaski hall of the Narayanhity royal palace July 6, has foreign diplomats, ministers, top politicians and industrialists on the invitation list. However, it remains to be seen how many would attend the bash that could be regarded as being politically incorrect.
Though the king turned 60 last year, a celebration was ruled out in July 2006 since he had been forced to surrender the power he had seized through a coup only two months before, due to a nationwide revolt against his 15-month regime.
In the past, Nepal used to celebrate the birthday of its reigning king as a national holiday. However, after King Gyanendra turned the country against him through his direct rule, the new government that came to power has power scrapped the holiday.
On July 7, the actual birthday, the palace gates will be opened to the public in the morning in adherence to the old tradition of allowing loyal subjects to come and pay their respects.
Despite the growing anti-monarchy feeling, royalists last year managed to put up a credible show of allegiance.
The festivities will continue till July 8, when the king will hold a reception in the palace.
As the palace gears up for the celebration, the government is readying to hold a constituent assembly election on Nov 22, when people will choose between monarchy and republic.
It will be the most expensive election Nepal has ever seen with the Election Commission asking for a budget of NRS 2 billion.
However, royalists, who have formed several parties and have applied to take part in the election, say they welcome the exercise that, if held in a free and fair manner, will show that the majority still want monarchy in Nepal.
Source: Click here.