NEPAL UNDER BIRENDER

Mahendra died in 1972, and the throne was succeeded by his eldest son Bir Bikram Birendra, who was formally crowned in 1975. He initially took steps to democratize the government, but without any noticeable redistribution of power. The slowdown in the pace of development, growing corruption among officials and rising prices again led to popular unrest. Under pressure from students and street demonstrations in cities in 1979, Birendra called a 1980 referendum on the future of the panchayat system. According to official data, 55% of the electorate were in favor of keeping it, 45% were against, but in reality the ratio of votes was almost equal. The king restored parliament, but did not authorize the activities of political parties. The king reserved the right to directly appoint 20% of the composition of the legislature, all candidates had to be members of one of six government-approved organizations, and after being elected, they must speak on their own behalf, and not from any organization. Elections, under the new conditions, were held in 1981 and 1986. The largest opposition party, the Nepalese Congress, boycotted these elections. In 1985, the NK party launched a campaign of civil disobedience to restore a multi-party system.