Nepal opposition insists on constitutional change, rejects king democracy pledge

[JURIST] Nepal opposition activists rallied late on Friday in Kathmandu to reject a pledge [JURIST report; proclamation text] made earlier in the day by King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] to immediately restore democracy to the country, under the king's direct rule since February last year. The country's political parties, which Gyanendra had invited to propose candidates [BBC report] for prime minister, turned down the overture saying that the king had failed to declare plans for a new state constitution which would make the monarch a mere figurehead, a concession demanded by most opposition members. Activists also declared the statement insufficient for failing to set a date for the new PM’s election. Some opposition protesters reacted violently to the speech despite an extension until midnight of the 11-hour curfew imposed on Kathmandu, vandalizing a police checkpoint and setting a government office on fire.

More protests are expected in Nepal on Saturday morning. Pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] against Gyanendra's seizure of power have wracked the country for 16 days with police firing on protesters [JURIST report] with increasing frequency. AP has more.

 

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