Final Chapter 5 - Popular Struggles and Movements P o p u l...

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Popular Struggles and Movements 57 Chapter 5 Popular Struggles and Movements Overview In the earlier chapters we discussed why power sharing is important in a democracy and how different tiers of government and various social groups share power. In this chapter we will carry this discussion further and see how those who exercise power are constrained by the influence and pressure exerted on them. Democracy almost invariably involves conflict of interests and viewpoints. These differences are often expressed in organised ways. Those who are in power are required to balance these conflicting demands and pressures. We begin this chapter with a discussion of how struggles around conflicting demands and pressures shape democracy. This leads to an analysis of the different ways and organisations through which ordinary citizen can play a role in democracy. In this chapter, we look at the indirect ways of influencing politics, through pressure groups and movements. This leads us in the next chapter to the direct ways of controlling political power in the form of political parties.
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58 Democratic Politics Popular struggles in Nepal and Bolivia Do you remember the story of the triumph of democracy in Poland? We studied it last year in the first chapter of class IX. The story reminded us about the role played by the people in the making of democracy. Let us read two recent stories of that kind and see how power is exercised in democracy. Movement for democracy in Nepal Nepal witnessed an extraordinary popular movement in April 2006. The movement was aimed at restoring democracy. Nepal, you might recall, was one of the ‘third wave’ countries that had won democracy in 1990. Although the king formally remained the head of the state, the real power was exercised by popularly elected representatives. King Birendra, who has accepted this transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, was killed in a mysterious massacre of the royal family in 2001. King Gyanendra, the new king of Nepal, was not prepared to accept democratic rule. He took advantage of the weakness and unpopularity of the democratically elected government. In February 2005, the king dismissed the then Prime Minister and dissolved the popularly elected Parliament. The movement of April 2006 was aimed at regaining popular control over the government from the king.
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Popular Struggles and Movements 59 All the major political parties in the parliament formed a Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and called for a four day strike in Kathmandu, the country’s capital. This protest soon turned into an indefinite strike in which M AOIST insurgents and various other organisations joined hands. People defied curfew and took to the streets. The security forces found themselves unable to take on more than a lakh people who gathered almost every day to demand restoration of democracy. The number of protesters reached between three to five lakhs on 21 April and they served an ultimatum to the king. The leaders of the movement rejected the half- hearted concessions made by the king.
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course SOCIAL 3so taught by Professor Stevejoyce during the Fall '09 term at Central European University.

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Final Chapter 5 - Popular Struggles and Movements P o p u l...

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