Countdown for Nepal king: 21 days to go

May 8th, 2008 - 7:14 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 8 (IANS) The seeds of self-destruction that he had sown three years ago when he tried to control the government bore fruit Thursday with Nepal’s Election Commission finalising the poll results, which leaves embattled King Gyanendra with just 21 days of privileged life. Though the fateful election that sealed the king’s fate and approved of a republic took place April 10, the Election Commission made the final formal announcement of results and issued certificates to winning contestants only Thursday, after winding up the technicalities.

Even then, of the 575 seats in the fray for the 601-member constituent assembly, the result of one was still to be announced formally as Sharad Singh Bhandari of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, who was initially thought to have won from Mahottari district in the Terai plains, was dragged to the constituent assembly court by his rivals on the charge of malpractice.

The remaining 26 seats are to be nominated by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala after consultations with the major parties.

The parleys are expected to start Friday when the seven parties in the ruling alliance hold their first meeting after the historic election.

The Election Commission said it would formally convey the election results later Thursday to the parliament secretariat as well as the Prime Minister’s Office.

Once that is done, according to Nepal’s interim constitution, the newly elected assembly has to hold its meeting within three weeks.

The assembly, therefore, would have to meet by May 29, when King Gyanendra would be formally proclaimed a commoner and his 239-year-old throne would be abolished.

If the major parties can rise above their earlier trait of bickering over power-sharing, the demolition of the royal house of Shah kings could occur even before May 29.

Stripped of his crown and asked to leave the royal palace, where generations of his family have lived, the king would have to lead the life of a law-abiding citizen without his former privileges, which included immunity from legal proceedings.

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