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Nepal parliament weighs future of monarchy in special session

[JURIST] Members of parliament in Nepal [JURIST news archive] opened debate at a special session Thursday to address the status of King Gyanendra [BBC profile] and the Nepalese monarchy. The Communist Party of Nepal - Maoists (CPN-M) [party website] reiterated their desire for the monarchy to be dissolved immediately. The party announced September 18 that it would vacate the interim government [JURIST report] and boycott future elections until its demands for parliament to immediately declare the country a federal democratic republic were met. Members of the opposition Nepali Congress [official website], Nepal's largest political party, argued that the country should first elect a special assembly to formally adopt a new constitution before ousting the monarchy. Parliamentary debate on the subject is expected to resume Sunday. AP has more.

Nepal's House of Representatives adopted [JURIST report] the country's draft interim constitution [eKantipur highlights] in January; the document was notably silent on whether the king would retain head of state duties. Nepalese government negotiators and Maoist rebels reached an agreement [JURIST report] on the 168 articles of the interim constitution to replace Nepal's current constitution [text] in December following the end of the Maoist guerrilla insurgency against the Nepalese government that began in 1996 and left over 13,000 people dead.

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