Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nepal parliament weathers blasts, abolishes monarchy

Nep By a vote of 560-4, the first-ever session of Nepal's Constituent Assembly amended that country's constitution, declaring Nepal a federal democratic republic.  The measure, sponsored jointly by the Nepali Congress, Unified Marxist-Leninist, and Maoist parties, has the effect of abolishing the nation's 239-year monarchic rule by the Shah dynasty.

By operation of the amendment, the Nepali monarch, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, immediately loses his royal prerogatives; as a result of a subsequent vote, the royal family has 15 days to vacate the royal palace.

The Nepali government immediately declared a two-day national holiday to celebrate the measure.

Earlier in the day, the Constituent Assembly was shaken by two bomb blasts, which were detonated just as the Assembly's first session was called to order.  Preliminary reports from Kathmandu indicate that a pro-Hindu party group, Ranabir Sena, was responsible for the blasts.

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