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Nepal parliament votes to abolish monarchy

[JURIST] The interim parliament in Nepal [JURIST news archive] voted Friday to end the nearly 240-year-old monarchy and to turn the nation into a republic. The vote supported an agreement [JURIST report] reached earlier this week by representatives of Nepal's leading political parties to abolish the country's monarchy as part of a plan to bring members of Communist Party of Nepal - Maoists (CPN-M) [party website] back into the country's government. The decision was passed by a majority of 270 votes in the 329-seat parliament, with only three votes against it. The removal of the king would take place only after elections for a special assembly, which are to be held in April of next year.

Nepal's Maoist Communists left Nepal's interim government [JURIST news archive] in protest in September and have been boycotting future elections over the monarchy issue. They insist the monarchy should be scrapped as Nepal transitions to a republic. The current monarch, King Gyanendra [BBC profile], gained political notoriety in 2005 when he dissolved the civilian government and seized power [JURIST report] himself. A High-Level Probe Commission later concluded [JURIST report] that Gyanendra and some 200 members of his administration were responsible for violent response to pro-democracy protests that left 22 dead and more than 5,000 wounded before the King relinquished governmental control. AP has more. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

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