Can A Country Ever Restore Its Lost Monarchy? Yes! Here Are 5 Historical Instances Where Nations Brought Back Their Monarchs
After spending the better part of his life fighting monarchy, Prachanada recently went through a moment of epiphany. In a press meet held last week, Prachanda ranted his heart out about the weakened state of Nepali political institutions. And in the end, he concluded that a King is better than a President.
Regret does little to bring back the monarchy though. In fact, restoring monarchy is one of the most difficult political feats ever. But difficult is not a synonym for impossible. There have been precedents in the past where lost monarchy was restored to power. Generally, these comebacks have been possible through referendums i.e. by allowing the population to vote on the matter, and siding with the majority.
On that note, let’s check out the 5 instances where monarchy was restored in a nation.
There are more than a few parallels to be drawn between Prachanda and Greek Prime Minister Georgios Kondylis. Both of them were involved in a gurrella warfare against the government, both were against monarchy, and both ended up supporting monarchy later in life.
A 1924 referendum had already sealed the fate of Greece as a republic nation. But the seal came undone in 1935 when Kondylis rose to power. Kondylis decided to hold a referendum to restore the same monarchy he once vehemently fought to overthrow. The public, however, was left with little choice as the Time magazine described the election to be completely rigged:
"As a voter one could drop into the ballot box a blue vote for George II and please General George Kondylis, or one could cast a red ballot for the Republic and get roughed up.”
In the end, the monarchy came out as the winner with an implausibly high — 97% — number of votes.
During the Nazi Germany invasion of Belgium, King Leopold III surrendered the country within 18 days. His quick surrender was highly condemned by the nation’s political parties. The King himself was deported out of the nation and placed under house arrest in Austria. Even after being liberated by the allied forces, Leopold remained in exile from his own country until 1950s. In the meantime, his brother Prince Charles ruled as regent.
Finally, in 1950, the public were given an opportunity to decide for themselves and were posed the following question in a historic referendum:
"Êtes-vous d'avis que le Roi Leopold III reprenne l'exercice de ses pouvoirs constitutionnels ?"
which translates to:
"Are you of the opinion that King Leopold III should resume the exercise of his constitutional powers?"
The election saw a 92% turnout. 57% of the population voted in favor of the King and welcomed his return to the throne.
Spain has seen one of the most recent reinstatement of monarchy in modern times. Until 1975, Spain was ruled by dictator Francisco Franco, who rose to power through force. During his tenure, he put in place a law that would allow him to choose his successor. Surprisingly enough, instead of his children or relatives, Franco appointed Juan Carlo, grandson of Spain’s last King, as his successor. And just like that, the crown was restored in Spain. To this day, Spain still remains a constitutional monarchy.
Meanwhile, one of the oldest restorations come from Mexico. The Mexican Empire died and gave way to United Mexican States in 1823, as a federal republic nation. But the new name failed to last long. In 1861, the French invaded Mexico and installed one of their own as a candidate for an emperor. A rigged referendum was held where 100% of the population voted in favor of the new emperor. The new emperor, however, was soon overthrown and executed. For the second time, the Empire was restored to a republic and hasn’t seen a monarch since.
In the late 20th century, Maldives went through a monarchial rollercoaster. After continuous British interference, Maldives removed its Sultan through a referendum and declared the nation to be a republic. The very next year, in 1953, another referendum was held. An overwhelming majority voted in favor of the Sultan, making the nation a sultanate yet again. Finally, in 1968 yet another referendum was held. This time the public voted against the monarchy and ended an 853-years old sultanate, paving way for democratic governance.
And these are 5 instances where monarchy was restored in a nation. How likely is Nepal to restore its crown? Follow Yeti Yap and let us know your opinions in the comment section below.