-  Friday 15 January 2021

Koirala to end monarchy, proclaim Nepal a republic

 -  Times of India

Dec 23 2007 - The nearly three-month long paralysis gripping Nepal's peace process could now be coming to an end with PM Girija Prasad Koirala on Saturday giving in to the Maoists’ demand to axe the monarchy and proclaim the Himalayan kingdom a republic.

After interminable negotiations between the ruling parties and the guerrillas, a tripartite meeting on Saturday resulted in an agreement, a senior politician said.

Koirala, who also heads the Nepali Congress, the biggest party in parliament, on Saturday held prolonged parleys with Maoist supremo Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal, chief of the second largest ruling party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML).

The three have reached an agreement to amend Nepal's interim constitution - which has left the kingdom's two-century-old monarchy in suspension - so that the country becomes a federal republic, UML leader Jhalanath Khanal told the media at the end of the meeting.

However, the Maoists, who began waging a war on the Shah dynasty of kings from 1996 and working for a communist republic, would still have to wait for the actual end of monarchy. According to the tripartite agreement, the implementation will start after the twice-deferred constituent assembly election is held.

If the elected assembly endorses a republic by a simple majority, only then will the king be stripped of his crown and become a commoner. Koirala, who had also been opposing the Maoist demand for a fully proportional electoral system, has now reached a compromise with the rebels to hold the polls employing a mixed system in which 60% of the seats will be chosen proportionally and the remaining 40 through straight contests.

Saturday's agreement will be tabled before a meeting of the six ruling parties and the Maoists Sunday. If endorsed by them, the government will finally make a move in parliament to amend the constitution. It has already started taking over some of the properties King Gyanendra inherited from his slain brother Birendra to put them to public use. These properties are mainly 16 royal palaces, including the one in Kathmandu where the king and Queen Komal stay, as well as their winter resort.

Everything now hinges on the critical election.

Source : Times of India


Other articles by reporter Times of India

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