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'Nepal king to vacate royal palace'

Nepal's beleaguered King Gyanendra is preparing to quit the Narayanhiti royal palace in Kathmandu soon, says media report.

world Updated: May 22, 2008 21:12 IST

Nepal's beleaguered King Gyanendra is preparing to quit the Narayanhiti royal palace in Kathmandu soon, just days ahead of a key meeting of the Constituent Assembly on May 28 is expected to dethrone him.

Gyanendra was likely to move to Nagarjun Palace, some eight kilometers north of Kathmandu, where he will stay for few days before heading to Nirmal Niwas, his private residence situated in Maharajgunj on the outskirts of the capital, a vernacular daily said.

The Telegraph Nepal online reported the Gorkhapatra vernacular daily - the state owned media, as saying that "it is highly likely that Nepal's King Gyanendra will vacate the royal palace at the earliest" in an effort to avoid the possible confrontation with the thousands of Maoists cadres who have been summoned to Kathmandu by the CPN-Maoist to surround the royal palace in heart of Kathmandu.

It said Gyanendra could head for the Nagarjun Palace on Thursday. King Gyanendras mother, Queen Ratna will be placed in Jiwan Niwas, the private residence of late Prince Dhirendra- younger brother of King Gyanendra, the report said.

"About 40 servants are being told to quit the palace but have been assured that they will find a suitable job later," the government-owned daily said.

Gyanendra has been ordered to leave the Narayanhiti palace before the special assembly holds its first meeting when it is expected to formally abolish the 240-year old monarchy, turning the Himalayan nation into a republic.

Nepal's fiercely republican Maoists are set to lead a new government after they emerged as the largest party in April 10 elections for the new assembly.

The assembly was the main demand of Nepal's seven main political parties and the Maoists, who teamed up to force King Gyanendra give up dictatorial powers in April 2006. The king has been stripped of most of his powers by the interim government that was later formed to run the country.