On June 1, 2001, King Birendra, his wife Aishwarya, their three children and other close members of the family died in a massacre in the palace of Kathmandu under circumstances that were never fully clarified; the seriously wounded Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah (* 1971) was initially proclaimed the new monarch, but died two days later. The only surviving brother of the murdered king, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah (* 1947), who was not in the royal palace at the time of the tragic events, took over the reign and became after Dipendra’s death crowned the new king on June 4th, 2001. The investigative commission he appointed and headed by the Chief Justice of Nepal presented its report on June 14, 2001, which, however, contained many contradictions and left some questions unanswered; In it, Crown Prince Dipendra was named as the sole perpetrator (according to the official account, the rampage under the influence of alcohol and drugs triggered by a family dispute, at the end of which Dipendra turned the weapon against himself).

On July 19, 2001, Prime Minister Koirala, who had come under allegations of corruption and was increasingly criticized within the Congress Party, gave up his post. His successor as Prime Minister was on July 22, 2001 Sher Bahadur Deuba who immediately offered negotiations to the Maoists and announced extensive social reforms in front of parliament on August 16, 2001 (including amendments to land ownership laws, prosecution of caste discrimination, statutory regulation of women’s inheritance rights, special promotion of indigenous peoples, literacy projects) However, he failed due to resistance from conservative circles, not least from his own party. Negotiations with the Maoists were also unsuccessful. The attitude of the American government, which placed the Maoist insurgents in the network of international terrorism after the attacks of September 11, 2001, also played a role. After massive attacks by the Maoists on military facilities, the government declared a state of emergency in November 2001, mobilized the army and sought foreign aid to fight the rebels. As the NC in May 2002 Sher Bahadur Deuba refused to approve a further extension of the state of emergency, this caused King Gyanendra to dissolve the parliament and to extend the state of emergency by decree, which led to the power struggle in the ruling party and finally to its split in June 2002. In October 2002, King Sher Bahadur Deuba declared incapable of holding the parliamentary elections scheduled for November, took power himself and installed Lokendra Bahadur Chand, loyal to the king, of the NDP as an interim premier.

At the end of January 2003, according to politicsezine, the insurgents agreed a ceasefire and peace talks with the government. While the Maoists ultimately only insisted on their basic demand for a new constitution to be drafted by a constituent assembly elected by the people, the government’s agenda remained unclear; this was not allowed to negotiate a new constitution that would endanger the continued existence of the monarchy. After the army refused to accept government agreements with the Maoists, Chand resigned as prime minister in late May 2003. He was succeeded by Surya Bahadur Thapa(NDP). After 19 Maoists were killed by the army in late August 2003, the Maoists declared the political concessions and proposed constitutional reforms previously offered by the government to be inadequate and called off the ceasefire. Prime Minister Thapa also failed in terms of cooperation with political parties, including his own, and holding parliamentary elections. Five parties represented in Parliament in 1999 began street protests in May 2003 against the king’s takeover, the illegitimate government and the decline of democracy, which they termed “regression”. From April 2004 they intensified their campaign, which from then on developed into a kind of popular movement. After most donor countries made continuation of development cooperation dependent on a return to democracy and a permanent settlement of the conflict with the Maoists at the Nepal Development Forum in May 2004, Thapa resigned as prime minister in the same month. In June 2004, King Gyanendra put Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was released by him in 2002 again as head of government. The military conflict between the Maoists and the army continued with undiminished severity. On February 1, 2005, King Gyanendra released Sher Bahadur Deuba on charges of having failed to restore peace from office again, declared a state of emergency (until the end of April 2005, including imprisonment or house arrest for hundreds of politicians and journalists) and took over the leadership of the government himself. Directed against the sole rule of the king, an agreement concluded in November 2005 brought about a rapprochement between the opposition 7-party alliance (NC, CPN-UML and five other parties) and the Maoists, which unilaterally unified on September 3, 2005 had declared another ceasefire lasting several months (ended on January 3, 2006). After a general strike that began on April 6, 2006 and weeks of protests, against which the security forces e.g. Some of them acted violently (21 dead and hundreds injured), directed King Gyanendra on April 21, 2006; he announced the return of government power to the political parties; on April 24, 2006 he declared himself ready to reinstate the parliament that had been dissolved four years earlier. Thereupon the opposition democracy movement ended its protests. The parliament, which met again for the first time on April 28, 2006, decided to elect a constituent assembly; the Maoists announced that they would accept a national convention (freely deciding on the future form of government) and declared a new three-month ceasefire. On April 30, 2006, Girija Prasad Koirala, who had already been Prime Minister several times, became Prime Minister(NC) sworn in as head of government; he initiated negotiations to end the ten-year bloody conflict with the Maoist rebels (around 13,000 dead by 2006), which led to a peace agreement with the CPN-M.

Nepal Since 2001