There has been a carnival atmosphere on the streets of Kathmandu as thousands of people staged a lively victory rally. The festivities followed the king’s very public climbdown. His pledge to reinstate parliament met a key opposition demand.
But while many Nepalis partied, others continued to protest – angry at the monarch who some want stripped of his powers. King Gyanendra’s concession has shattered the loose alliance between the opposition and Nepal’s Maoists. Despite the desires of some demonstrators, Maoists are pursuing their rebellion. They claim the royal turnaround is nothing but a sham. The seven-party opposition however has welcomed the deal and promptly called off more than two weeks of protests. It has also picked a man to head a new government – veteran former Prime Minister GP Koirala. Nepal’s parliament has been dissolved since 2002. Its lower house is now set to reconvene on Friday. In spite of the celebrations, the people have paid a price for their victory, with police action during the protests claiming at least 14 lives.