Students call for the end of monarchy

  • Press Trust of India, PTI, Kathmandu
  • |
  • Updated: May 09, 2004 20:14 IST

Students unions today announced that mock university referenda across Nepal showed overwhelming support for ending the monarchy, amid a month of street protests against the king.

More than 95 per cent of voters at five universities said the Himalayan state should be a republic, according to Pradeep Paudel, a leader of the Nepal Student Union, one of seven anti-royal student groups that organised the voting.

He said that at Prithvi Narayan University in the western city of Pokhara - Nepal's top provincial university - 54 percent of the 10,000-plus student body voted and only 149 of them supported the monarchy.

Paudel said similar referenda would be held at all universities in Nepal.

Students have been at the forefront of a month of protests in the capital, Kathmandu, originally organised by opposition parties angry that King Gyanendra had dissolved the elected government in 2002.

"With the youth now supporting a republic, all concerned should pay serious attention to resolve the problem before it's too late," said Subhash Nemwang, a former communist lawmaker.

The king accuses squabbling democratic leaders of failing Nepal while in power, particularly by not stopping a bloody Maoist insurgency that also aims to overthrow the monarchy.

Opposition leaders have refused to meet the king until the royal-appointed government ends restrictions on public assembly imposed on April 8 to thwart the protests.


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