Nepal swears in new assembly

Other News Materials 28 May 2008 11:09 (UTC +04:00)

Nepal's newly elected assembly is expected to abolish the monarchy Wednesday and declare the Himalayan nation a republic, reported CNN.

Members of Nepal's newly elected assembly attend the swearing-in ceremony in Kathmandu Tuesday.

The decision would end 240 years of monarchy.

The streets of the capital have been clogged with processions and rallies since early in the day to celebrate the anticipated new republic.

Once the 601-member assembly declares the monarchy officially over, 60-year-old King Gyanendra and his family will be given up to 30 days to vacate the royal palace, according to Minendra Rijal of the ruling Nepali Congress.

"He has no choice, but if he refuses to leave the palace, we will use the law to force him out of there," Baburam Bhattarai, the deputy leader of the Maoists, Nepal's former rebels, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The king was stripped of all his powers two years ago after he gave up direct rule following widespread popular protests.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has been carrying out head-of-state responsibilities, like receiving foreign dignitaries and participating in official cultural events.

Nepal's ruling coalition decided Tuesday to create the post of president, who will serve as the head of state, but it's expected to take about a week to fill the post.

The removal of the monarchy is a victory for the country's Maoist rebels, who fought a 10-year civil war to end the monarchy. More than 13,000 people died in the fighting.

Maoists still have 20,000 fighters in U.N.-monitored camps spread across the country, the AP reported. Their former fighters were recently implicated in the abduction and murder of a Kathmandu businessman.

King Gyanendra came to power in 2001 when his brother, King Birendra, and his entire family was massacred in the palace by the crown prince, who later shot himself. The Shah dynasty dates to the mid-18th century.

A string of bombings hit Kathmandu on Monday and Tuesday, all apparently aimed at pro-republic politicians and activists, the AP reported. The four explosions left two people wounded, AP reported