Nepal is now republicMay 29th, 2008 - 1:30 am ICT by admin
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 28 (IANS) Nepal entered a new epoch at near-midnight Wednesday with its newly elected constituent assembly voting overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to end the 239-year-old monarchy and transform the nation into a federal, democratic secular republic. Of the 564 members present at the first historic meeting of the assembly, only four voted against the proposal to strip embattled King Gyanendra of his title and few remaining vestiges of power and ask him to vacate the royal palace within 15 days.
Along with the king, all other members of the royal family have now been stripped of their titles, privileges and responsibilities, becoming ordinary citizens of the country.
The assembly also ordered the government to turn the Narayanhity royal palace - the seat of Nepal kings for generations - into a national museum and use it for the benefit of the nation.
The king’s place as head of state will be assumed by a constitutional president, who is to be elected by the constituent assembly.
The president will also be the official head of the army, as the king had been, and like him, would have the power to declare a state of emergency or revoke it on the advice of the council of ministers.
May 28 will be celebrated every year as Republic Day.
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