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Nepal finalises interim Constitution

Source: PTI
December 16, 2006 12:10 IST
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Nepal's ruling parties and Maoist rebels on Saturday finalised an interim Constitution, which removes King Gyanendra as the head of the state.      

The Constitution was finalised after top leaders of the eight political parties, including Prime Minister G P Koirala and Maoist Chief Prachanda, put their signatures on the document after 16-hours of hectic discussions at the PM's residence in Baluwatar, paving the way for the rebels to join the government.

According to the Constitution, which has 167 articles, all executive powers as well as those enjoyed by the King in the previous Constitution, now vest upon the prime minister, Nepal Sadbhavana Party general secretary Rajendra Mahato said.

Prime Minister Koirala, Communist party chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress (D) President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and other top leaders put their signatures on the constitution at 8 am (local time) after whole night discussions at Baluwatar, stripping King Gyanendra of all powers.

The Constitution will come into effect only after it is endorsed by the Cabinet and approved by the House of Representatives. The cabinet meeting will also have to endorse the interim Constitution.

All powers of the 238-year-old monarchy have been stripped, making King Gyanendra a civilian king, state-run Radio Nepal said, adding the powers, including those enjoyed by the head of the state, will also vest upon the prime minister.      

However, there is no specific mention of who will head the state during the interim Constitution, sources said.

There will be a double ballot paper system as the Constituent assembly polls will be held in mixed type. Of the total 409 Constituent Assembly seats, 205 will be elected directly and remaining will be elected through proportionate representation. One third seats in the 209 seats of the Constituent assembly will be reserved for women.

The first meeting of the Constituent assembly election will decide whether the country will adopt a republican set up or continue with the monarchy.

However, Nepal Sadbhavana Party has put its note of dissent differing with the issue of delimiting the 205 constituencies on the basis of population before the CA polls are held, Rajendra Mahato said. He said, the present constituency deliniation has not done justice to the Terai people.

Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara said, the arms management issue will be settled within 8-10 days paving way for the rebels to join the interim government.
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