May 28 to see end of monarchy in Nepal

May 12th, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 12 (IANS) Nepal Monday set the stage for the formal abolition of its two-and-a-half century old monarchy with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala calling the fateful first meeting of the newly elected constituent assembly May 28. Nepal’s seven ruling parties had urged the premier Friday to choose any date between May 25 and 28 to call the first meeting of the 601-member constituent assembly that, according to Nepal’s current constitution, will seal the fate of sidelined King Gyanendra.

At 4 p.m., the prime minister sent a formal letter to the parliament secretariat, announcing May 28 as the D-Day.

“We welcome the step,” Maoist lawmaker Dinanath Sharma told IANS.

The decision came even as a royalist former minister urged the political parties not to take a hasty decision on the fate of the royal family but to wait till the assembly drafted a new constitution for Nepal, a process that is likely to take about two years.

But the Maoists rejected the appeal.

“The interim constitution itself has abolished monarchy and proclaimed Nepal a federal democratic republic,” said Sharma, who, unlike Thapa, won last month’s historic election.

“Only the actual implementation of the proclamation is left and it was decided that it would be done after the first sitting of the constituent assembly.”

Asked if King Gyanendra and Queen Komal would be asked to leave the Narayanhity royal palace the same day, Sharma said: “People have already ordered the king to do so (by voting against him). Now the interim parliament will put that into effect.”

Only divine intervention or another coup can now save Nepal’s royal family from being ignominiously turned into commoners stripped of their legal immunity, immense wealth and countless other privileges.

The palace is likely to be turned into a museum.

While another army coup seems fairly impossible, the endangered king Monday went to the temple of a Hindu goddess of power to propitiate her with sacrifices.

Five live animals and birds were killed at the altar of Dakshinkali, the goddess believed to destroy the worshipper’s enemies, in a ceremony that the king had enacted last year too after the fall of his 14-month regime.

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