Sunday, February 06, 2005

Two Coups in One Week

Two coups in one week in two different countries on two different continents. This seems highly unusual, and I might never have noticed the significance had I not been more attuned to International Relations in my fswe preparations.

The first to occur (last Tusday) was an unusual "royal coup", in Kathmandu, Nepal, in which King Gyanendra dissolved the government, seized power, and threatened action against any strikes or revolts, in an attempt to quell the long-running Maoist insurgency that he believed was "on the verge of taking power". See also here. The U.S. has called on King Gyanendra to immediately restore democracy.

The second, a military coup, happened on Sunday in Togo, when their ruling leader, "Mr. Eyadema" died of an apparent heart attack. Togo's constitution states that in the event of a "power vacuum", the Speaker of Parliament is to run the country for 60 days, during which elections must be held. The current Speaker of Parliament had been in Paris, and was not permitted to return, instead the son "Mr. Eyadema", a certain "Mr. Gnassingbe" was sworn in by the high army command. Togo had been under sanctions by the EU since 1993 for what they termed "democratic deficiencies", and the U.S. has encouraged them to "move toward a full and participatory democracy".

It's going to be interesting to see how these play out.