05/29/2008, 00.00
NEPAL
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Nepal is officially a republic

by Kalpit Parajuli
Late last night came the announcement that the monarchy was abolished and the republic proclaimed. King Gyanendra has 15 days to leave the Royal palace. Hindu monarchists protest; they view the decision as invalid and want a referendum.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – After 240 years of monarchy Nepal is now a federal democratic Republic. The decision was taken late last night during the first session of the country’s constituent assembly. King Gyanendra was given 15 days to vacate the Narayanhity Royal Palace. The motion was voted by 560 members. Only four representatives of the royalist National Democratic Party-Nepal voted against.

The vote marks the end of a process that began in 2005, culminating in the rise of the Maoist guerrilla to a place of prominence in the country’s political life, and this despite the fact that they have not having entirely given up their weapons.

In its second session, a few minutes after the first, the assembly adopted a bill to amend the provisional constitution to regulate the powers of the president of the republic, who will remain in power until the new constitution comes into force.

Despite a ban thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate the end of the monarchy, which had lost most of its support in the population.

King Gyanendra had come to the throne in 2001 in the wake of turmoil caused by the murder of the royal family.

With his fall the only Hindu monarchy comes to and end.

But for Hindu royalist leader Bharat Keshar Singh “the decision is not valid because the constituent assembly has only the right to write the constitution. The fate of the monarchy should be decided by referendum.”

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