Nepal: February 1, 2005


The king has dismissed his government ministers, and is appointing men who are loyal to him, and not elected members of parliament. In effect, the king has staged a coup, overthrowing the elected officials. Technically, the king can do this, especially in an emergency. The king believes that the political parties are more interested in fighting each other over political power, than in dealing with the Maoist rebels. Nepal is a poor country, with a medieval economy based on a few percent of the population controlling most of the economy. About 90 percent of the population lives in rural areas, getting by with farming and herding. Some 85 percent of the farmland is owned by the farmers that work it. But these farmers are dependent on merchants for credit, in order to survive from one growing season to the next. Population has tripled (because of better medial care) in the last half century, creating more people than the limited farming land (17 percent of the mountainous nation) can support. Poverty has increased as farms grow smaller. Wealthy farmers and merchants hire labor cheap, which also increases poverty and dissatisfaction. The Maoists have no real solution for all this, and in the past, Maoist type governments have simply imposed a reign of terror that killed off a large portion of the population before being overthrown. The Cambodian Maoists killed about a ten percent of the population during the few years they ruled in the 1970s. 


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