Will the monarchy return to Nepal?

Nepal abolishes the monarchy

Released: 10:22 p.m., Dec 28, 2007 (CET)
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Kathmandu (Nepal), 12/28/2007 - The parliament in Nepal today made an important decision on the country's future form of government: The members of parliament voted for an amendment to the constitution that heralds the end of the monarchy in the South Asian state.

Today's vote will ensure that the king will be removed from office immediately after the elections.

- Nepal's Minister of the Interior Krishna Prasad Situala

As the Speaker of the Parliament announced, 270 of the 273 politicians who took part in the vote voted in favor of the constitutional amendment, while three MPs voted against. The required two-thirds majority was thus clearly achieved. The result of today's vote will make Nepal a federal democratic republic. In mid-April 2008 the 601 members of the constituent assembly will be elected. This assembly can then pass a new constitution with a simple majority. King Gyanendra remains in office until the first session of the assembly. The assembly is elected using a mixed process. The parties appoint 26 members, 335 are elected by proportional representation and 240 by direct majority voting.

With the abolition of the monarchy, the Nepalese Maoists have achieved one of their core goals. According to media reports, most of the other parties wanted to leave the question of the form of government to the constituent assembly. With their withdrawal from the government in September of this year, the Maoists, who had fought violently against the monarchy for a long time, wanted to emphasize their demand. After all, seven parties had signed a 23-point program that was the basis for today's vote. Presumably the Maoists will now return to the government. Interior Minister Krishna Prasad Situala said of the parliamentary vote: "Today's vote will ensure that the king will be removed from office immediately after the elections." Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the chairman of the Maoists, spoke of another historic step for, according to "AFP" the country.

In 2005, King Gyanendra had deposed the government, dissolved parliament and assumed sole rule, causing him to lose popular support. The king justified his decision by stating that this was the only way to fight corruption and the Maoist uprising. Gyanendra had to gradually relinquish his power after protests in April last year. Initially, the civilian government removed him from his position as chief commander of the army before lifting his immunity.

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