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Protesters gather in response to Nepal constitution

[JURIST] Demonstrators in Nepal gathered Monday to protest the country's new constitution [legislative materials, in Nepali], which was promulgated on Sunday. The constitution was signed and announced [Asia Times report] by Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, who was applauded by members of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal [official website] in Kathmandu. It was approved [JURIST report] by the Constituent Assembly last week, following years of debate. The charter's passage has caused tensions [Reuters report] both within Nepal and with India. It was opposed by minority groups in the southern plains, as their home provinces will be divided under its terms. India has called for the charter to be more inclusive of ethnic groups near its borders and expressed concern about continuing violence in those regions. India's Ministry of External Affairs called on Indian Ambassador Ranhit Rae to return to Delhi [The Hindu report] for consultations in light of Nepal's continuing violence.

The new Constitution will replace an interim constitution in place since the end of a decade-long civil war [JURIST report] that led to the abolition of the Nepali monarchy. In May 2012 the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered [JURIST report] the government to complete the final draft of the nation's new constitution by the following week. When that deadline was not met, then-prime minister Baburam Bhattarai announced [JURIST report] the 2008 parliament would be dissolved and new elections would be held later that year. In January 2014 the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that the selection of a new president was not an immediate need and should be postponed until the adoption of a new constitution. When officials met in January to draft the constitution, the meeting ended in violence [JURIST report], but officials have stated that the April earthquake, which killed more than 8,700 people, drove the leaders to work together and resolve the disputed issues. In June leaders of the four major political parties in Nepal reached an agreement [JURIST report] on key issues for the new constitution and settled on dividing the country into eight federal states.

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