Nepal strips king of powers, turns secular | india | Hindustan Times
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Nepal strips king of powers, turns secular

NEPAL'S PARLIAMENT has stripped the king of most of his political and military powers and reduced him to a figurehead leader -- one who has to pay taxes and, if needed, whose actions can be challenged in a court of law. On Thursday, the House passed unanimously a historic proclamation that curtailed the king's powers and declared parliament supreme.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 01:31 IST
Agencies

NEPAL'S PARLIAMENT has stripped the king of most of his political and military powers and reduced him to a figurehead leader -- one who has to pay taxes and, if needed, whose actions can be challenged in a court of law. On Thursday, the House passed unanimously a historic proclamation that curtailed the king's powers and declared parliament supreme.

The proclamation, greeted with victory rallies across the country, declared that from now on Nepal will stop being a Hindu kingdom -- the world's only one -- and become a secular state. It took away from the king the title of supreme commander-in-chief of the military and said the Royal Nepal Army will now be called just Nepali Army (the cabinet will appoint its chief).

Also, the government will no longer be called "His Majesty's Government" but Nepal government. The principal advisory body of the king, the Raj Parishad, has been scrapped.

Parliament will have the power to make laws on the heir to the throne, decide on the expenses of the king and be responsible for his security. Moreover, parliament will have full executive power and will formulate necessary procedures for the election of the constituent assembly.

"It reflects the aspirations of the people and respects the sacrifices of the people who were martyred during the movement," Prime Minister G.P. Koirala said as he tabled the resolution.

Even politicians who traditionally supported the king voted against him in the House. "This move has turned the country toward a new goal and target. This will give political stability," said Surya Bahadur Thapa of the royalist Rashtriya Janshakti Party.

The House declared all provisions of the Constitution that contradict the proclamation as "nullified". Under the current constitution no parliamentary bill can become law until the king signs it.