Nepal is a small Himalayan country that borders China and India with a population of about 20 million and with a famous ethnic and religious diversity. Established as a monarchy in the mid-18th century, its form of government was hotly contested in 1972 with the death of King Mahendra and the accession of his son, Birenda. The king maintained power but promised a national referendum on the panchayat system of councils, which then allowed the king almost total autocratic control.
The 2006 general strike in Nepal was part of a larger democracy movement in the country. Nepal has had a historically monarchal government dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. In the 1940’s, political opposition rose, critical of the enduring, often unstable, autocratic rule and calling for democratic reforms. In 1951, Nepal instated the Nepali Congress Party, dissolving some of the monarchic hegemony.