Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Nepal's deposed king hopes monarchy will be restored

Former King Gyanendra
Gyanendra as king - but he has kept a low profile since he was deposed

The former king of Nepal, Gyanendra, has said that he hopes the country's centuries-old Hindu monarchy may one day be restored.

Gyanendra - who was deposed in 2008 when the monarchy was abolished - said that he did not believe it had ended.

He was ousted after Nepal's Maoists, who had fought a decade-long civil war for a republic, won elections in 2008.

The BBC's Joanna Jolly in Nepal says that the former king's views are unlikely to be taken seriously.

Our correspondent says that while there has been speculation that he may make a comeback, most mainstream political leaders reacted by dismissing his claims as irrelevant.

'Ups and downs'

"I don't believe that the monarchy has ended," the former king said in a rare interview late on Wednesday on Nepal's Avenues Television.

"History shows that the monarchy has had its ups and downs... But I will do whatever the people want me do."

Gyanendra came to the throne in 2001 after his nephew - the then crown prince Dipendra - gunned down most of the royal family before shooting himself.

Gyanendra's brother, King Birendra, was killed as was his sister-in-law, Queen Aishwarya.

Gyanendra's popularity plummeted when he sacked the government and took control of the country in 2005. He argued that the mainstream parties had failed to tackle the Maoist insurgency.

But his takeover backfired when mass protests forced the reinstatement of parliament.

The Maoists went on to win subsequent elections and Nepal was declared a republic, ending 240 years of monarchy, in May 2008.

The former king - who admitted in his interview that his power grab had been a mistake - has kept a low profile since he was ousted.

"I left [the throne] without objections so that this country would see peace and prosperity. My forefathers united this country and I hope that unity will not broken," Gyanendra said.

He was speaking as Nepal's lawmakers continue with their struggle to draft a new constitution, which correspondents say is unlikely to be completed by a 28 May deadline.

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