Reinstated Nepal parliament strips king of powers in aftermath of direct rule

[JURIST] In an historic proclamation approved [recorded video] Thursday, Nepal's reinstated parliament stripped all the privileges and powers of King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile], who gave up direct rule of the country after 19-days of mass protests [JURIST news archive] in April. The proclamation effectively makes Nepal's 237-year old monarchy ceremonial and recognizes the Nepali people as the source of the state power after a 50-year struggle. Nepal's pro-democracy parties have been demanding the monarchy become ceremonial since 1950 when democracy was first established. On two occasions since, Nepal's kings have taken over control of the government. The Nepalese parliament also declared itself as sovereign and supreme, taking precedence over the constitution [text].

According to the proclamation, Gyanendra, who seized power [JURIST report] in a bloodless coup in February 1, 2005, is now no longer the supreme commander of the 100,000-strong army. In addition, the parliament stripped the monarch of the privilege to choose the heir to the throne and amend laws related to the succession to the throne.

"The House of the Representatives (parliament) will have the right to formulate, amend or annul the law related to the succession to the throne," reads the proclamation, dubbed the Nepali magna carta, which was passed by a voice vote by Nepalese parliamentarians. The king will no longer be a part of the parliament, whereas before Thursday, Nepal's parliament constituted the House of Representatives, an upper house and the king. Parliament will decide the expenses and privileges of the king and the king will have to now pay taxes on his private property and income.

"From now on, the king can be questioned in a court of law," said the proclamation. Earlier, the king was not subject to law of Nepal. The parliament also scrapped the king's advisory body that was in controversy after the royal takeover in February, 2005. Many believed that the body encouraged the king to assume executive power in 2005. eKantipur.com has more.

Kiran Chapagain is a special correspondent for JURIST writing from Nepal. He is an Assistant Senior Reporter for the Kathmandu Post.



 

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