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Nepal's Last Emperor?
May 22, 2006
Lawmakers in Nepal's newly reinstated parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution last Thursday stripping the royal family of most of its powers.

The resolution, which needs separate parliamentary legislation before it can become law, would make King Gyanendra, the scion of the Shah dynasty which has ruled Nepal since 1769, a mere figurehead.

The Nepal Crisis

Here's what the declaration, tabled by Prime Minister G P Koirala, and passed by a voice vote in Parliament, proposes:

  • 'His Majesty's Government' to be renamed 'Nepal Government', and Nepal to become a secular State.
  • All the executive rights of Nepal as a State shall rest with the Council of Ministers
  • The king is no longer to be the military's commander-in-chief. The Royal Nepalese Army" to become the Nepali Army. The army chief to be appointed by the council of ministers, and not the king.
  • King to lose power to summon and prorogue parliament.('The House of Representatives will now enjoy all the powers until another constitutional arrangement is made')
  • Parliament would have to approve the royal succession.
  • The national anthem, which hails the King, is to be changed.
  • Abolition of the the privy council, or royal advisory body.
  • There will be spending limits on the royal family's expenses and perks.
  • The royal family will now pay tax.

But though Prime Minister G P Koirala declared that 'this proclamation represents the feelings of all the people,' and the resolution was passed overwhelmingly by the 205-member parliament, these proposed changes are likely to be legally challenged by the king on the grounds that they violate the current constitution.

More reports from Nepal | The resolution

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