The man who fought for six decades for democracy is no more. The country has lost a brave maverick leader.

President of Nepali Congress (NC), and former Prime Minister, Girija Prasad Koirala passed away on 20 March 2010. The country provided full state honours for his last ritual. The country is in great sorrow and decided to mourn for three days. His death is a great loss to the democratic movement in the country since the new constitution is still to be written and the peace process has yet to complete its long journey.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) lay down weapons, sat for dialogue and signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with Prime Minister G.P. Koirala. Subsequently, elections to the Constituent Assembly were successfully conducted, and, under the leadership of G.P. Koirala, the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly successfully ended 250 years of monarchy without bloodshed.

The death of the democratic leader of Nepal G.P. Koirala has raised a number of key issues in Nepalese politics, namely:

  1. Leadership in High Level Political Mechanism
  2. Leadership in Nepali Congress
  3. Former King's visit in "Ram-Janaki" temple and his interview
  4. People's sentiment for the peace process
The crisis of the leadership has been seen in the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) immediately after the demise of G.P. Koirala. The HLPM was led by G.P. Koirala, with the President of UCPN (Maoist), Puspa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda", and Chairperson of CPN (UML), J. N. Khanal, as members. The mechanism was formed with the sole objective of building a political consensus for the peace process. After the death of G.P. Koirala, the UCPN (Maoist) party is claiming the leadership of HLPM on the ground that it is the largest party in the Constituent Assembly, while the NC party says that it should naturally inherit the position it's president held. The CPN (UML) also claims the leadership.

NC lost a president who had held the position for more than a decade. There are three top members of the party who are each stacking their claim to inherit the presidency. Shushil Koiral is claiming that he will lead the party on the ground that he is an acting president. Another top leader Sher B. Deuba is strongly claiming the leadership of the party saying that he is the second position in the party's hierarchy after President G.P. Koirala. Ram Chandra Poudel, a parliamentarian leader has not yet spoken out about the issue of the leadership.

Former king recently visited the "Ram-Janaki" temple at Janakpur on the occasion of the Hindu festival "Ramnawami", (the festival is celebrated to mark the birth day of the lord Ram) and subsequently gave a short interview saying that ending of the monarchy is only hypothetical in Nepal. He further said that "people should understand that the king has to play the role of a 'guardian' and has to take steps in the interest of the country and people's security". The former king was made his visit when the President of Nepal, Mr. Ram Baran Yadav had already scheduled to visit the temple and the president had to reschedule his time to visit the temple to avoid an encounter with the former king.

People's fears and concerns about peace process have been increased alone with the death of G.P. Koirala. The Nepalese people are very worried that the peace process may fall of the tracks with the absence of G.P. Koirala. Most of the Nepalese people think that they lost their guardian and peace process also lost its guardian. The Nepalese people offer great tribute to their tireless leader and are praying for a logical end of peace process.

Posted by Ambika Pokhrel, Local Correspondent for Nepal, 26 March 2010