Girija Prasad Koirala, former Nepali prime minister died on Saturday March 20th, after prolonged illness. Nepali government has decalred Sunday oficial holiday and the national flag will be at half mast for three days of mourning. Koirala’s last rite will be performed on Sunday.
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Coverage of Nepali leader Girija Prasad Koirla’s sudden death in the international media.
Gopal Sharma at Reuters reports on Koirala’s demise, focusing on this role in ongoing peace process.
“Koirala helped begin landmark peace talks with the Maoists in 2006 to end a long civil war that killed more than 13,000 people.
The dialogue brought the former rebels into the political mainstream and paved the way for the abolition of the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy. Koirala is seen by many as a guardian of the peace process.”
Koirala’s role in often trecherous world of Nepali politics is also being hailed at BBC, whic called him a “Statesman”. His stabilizing efforts during the peace process with the Maoists and during the years King Gyanendra ruled the country is especially being remembered.
“Five years later(following King Birendra’s death in 2001) he was appointed prime minister by King Gyanendra who reinstated parliament following weeks of violent strikes and protests against direct royal rule.
He was too sick to attend rallies celebrating the resumption of parliament, having suffered from respiratory problems for years. In May 2006 Parliament voted unanimously to curtail the king’s political powers.
The same month, the government and Maoist rebels began peace talks, the first in nearly three years, resulting in a peace accord by November 2006.”
At Mysansar, Uttam Babu Shrestha and Kris analyze Koirala’s long public life and current turmoil in Nepal.
With peace process with the Maoists unable to reach meaningful conclusion-the sticky point being integration og former Maoist guerrillas into the Nepalese Army, Nepal is bound to face tough times ahead. Presence of Koirala, as a voice of stability, reason and national interest will be especially missed by Nepal in these difficult times.