Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Historic Vote Ends Nepal's Monarchy
Published Date: 29 May 2008 By Russell Jackson NEPAL's political leaders last night voted to abolish the monarchy and declare a republic, ending 239 years of royal rule. Once the resolution is passed, King Gyanendra will have 15 days to leave his pink 1970s-era concrete palace in central Kathmandu.The Maoists, who emerged as the largest party in elections held last month, had led calls to oust the king and create a republic. The former communist rebels signed a peace agreement in 2006 that ended a decade-long insurgency. The proposal, which was opposed by only four members of the 601-seat assembly, states Nepal is "an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular and inclusive democratic republic nation". Royal privileges "will automatically come to an end", the declaration adds. Last night there was no immediate response from the palace on the vote. Across Kathmandu, young men marched with red flags as Nepalis young and old celebrated.Near the convention centre where the Constituent Assembly was meeting, thousands chanted, "Long live the republic!" . Although the celebrations were largely peaceful, police at one point used tear gas to disperse a crowd that gathered too close to the building."This is the people's victory," former Maoist rebel Kamal Dahal, 22, said. "With today's declaration of a republic, we have achieved what we fought for."The government of the new Nepalese republic is expected to be led by the Maoists.The assembly has two years to come up with permanent arrangements for a new constitution.
Posted by Deanna Hagge at 10:19 PM