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Main News
Nepal declared federal republic
By Ambar Mainali/ Prakash Acharya

Kathmandu, May 29

Nepal turned into a federal democratic republic Wednesday ending about four centuries old monarchial culture through an overwhelming 560 votes of the Constituent Assembly (CA).
In a historic verdict, the first meeting of the CA formally implemented the republican agenda provisioned in the Interim Constitution 2063 declaring Nepal a federal democratic republic state to be run under a presidential system. The verdict has put to rest 240 years of Shah rule turning Nepalese into sovereign citizens.
There were 560 votes in support and four votes against the proposal for republic tabled for voting at 10:00 p.m. by Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula on behalf of Prime Minister Girija Prasad  Koirala..
“As there were 560 votes in support of the proposal for the implementation of republic, I declare Nepal a federal demcoratic republic from today,” announced CA Chairman Kul Bahadur Gurung close to midnight after the vote count.
Gurung announced that 15 days time would be given to the former king to vacate the Narayanhiti Royal Palace and also instructed the government to dissolve his personal secretariat and scrap all perks, allowances and facilities given to him and his family members earlier.
The lawmakers were asked to go to two separate chambers to the left and right of the Sagarmatha meeting hall at the International Convention Centre, at New Baneshwor to cast their votes. Those casting their votes in support of the proposal went to the right of the hall while others casting their votes aginst it went to the left. It took nearly an hour and-a-half for the CA officials to complete the voting process.
The CA meeting scheduled for 11:00 a.m. convened 10 hours later at 9: 23 p.m.
At the outset of the meeting, CA Chairman Gurung congratulated the members for being elected to undertake a historic responsibility of implementing the republic agenda and writing a new democratic constitution.
He asked the members to observe two minutes” silence as a show of tribute to the known and unknown martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the epochal transformation of the nation.
Addressing the historic meeting, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala reiterated the need to forge consensus not only till the time of writing the constitution but also after that to ensure the consolidation of democracy and human rights.
He said that consensus among the political parties in the course of the past two years had been instrumental to bring epochal changes in the nation. Hence as consensus is more powerful than any weapon, all political parties should bury their differences and come forward to forge enduring consensus to address all the problems faced by the nation.
“I would like to recall my saying that a day would come in an era when the nation would finally change its course,” Koirala said adding, “My dream has finally come true today and the nation’s dream also has come into fruition.”
Koirala after completing his extempore speech asked the Chairman to permit Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Paudel to deliver his written address to the house.
The peace process has succeeded to reach a conclusive point now and people representing different caste, region, class, gender and community have been represented in the Constituent Assembly, the PM said in his written statement read out by Paudel.
“We have arrived at a historical juncture where monarchy will now be rooted out completely and Nepal would be declared a federal democratic republic,” the PM said.
He expressed happiness that the Nepalese had now become sovereign citizens and assured that there were no hitches in the road ahead to address the problems of the nation.
Koirala said in the statement that the culture of cooperation and consensus should be given continuity in the days ahead to liberate the Nepalese from poverty and backwardness.
Koirala said that a legal path had been opened towards ending all forms of violence in the country and the nation should focus on consolidation of democracy and human rights. “The CA should encompass the views of all caste, groups, class and community without inflicting any damage on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.”
“I have always believed in rule of law and a democratic system,” he said adding, “I firmly stand by my belief and want all parties to stick to it.”
Koirala said that he had already invited the CPN-Maoist in the capacity of the largest political party to lead the next government on the basis of political consensus with other parties.
At the meeting, Chandra Bahadur Gurung of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal pleaded before the historic assembly that it was going all out to abolish the monarchial institution which had contributed so much in the task of integrating and developing the nation.
He was hushed up after two minutes, the allotted time given to him and asked to submit his written statement by Chairman Gurung.
Taking time to present his party’s view, president of the People’s Front Nepal, Chitra Bahadur K.C. said that his party still differed with the modality being worked upon to demarcate federal states.
He said the idea of demarcating state on the basis of caste and ethnicity would be counterproductive for the nation.
Prakash Chandra Lohani of the Rastriya Janashkati Party made a critical note and said at a time when the political parties ought to focus on writing a new constitution and addressing other burning issues, they were engaged in a power struggle.
While the voting was in progress the environment at the CA turned noisy after Kamala Sharma, CA member elected from Surkhet vented her ire at Nepali Congress CA member Purna Bahadur Khadka charging him of having a hand in her husband’s murder. Her husband Rishi Prasad Sharma of the CPN (UML) had been assassinated during an election rally.
Minendra Rijal of the Nepali Congress drew the attention of the CA meeting claiming Sharma’s behaviour was not appropriate as per the spirit of parliamentary norms. Ram Chandara Jha of CPN (UML) expressed sadness over the incident.
The meeting followed its usual course after the CA Chairman made a ruling to restore order.
The next meeting of CA has been scheduled for June 5, Thursday at 11:00 a.m.

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