Minister for Gyanendra as President of Nepal
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Minister for Gyanendra as President of Nepal

A senior Nepalese Minister has suggested that the King be offered the post of President of Nepal if he agrees to voluntarily abdicate.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 15:09 IST

In the midst of a debate over the future role of the monarch, a senior Nepalese Minister has suggested that King Gyanendra be offered the post of President of Nepal if he agrees to voluntarily abdicate.

"Gyanendra would be the last King and the first President of Democratic Republic of Nepal, if the seven parties and the Maoists agree on that and the King accepts the idea," Minister for Physical Planning and Construction Gopal Man Shrestha said.

"This is my personal view and not the official line of the party, "said Shrestha, who is also the acting President of Nepali Congress (Democratic).

Shrestha's idea comes at a time when the ruling alliance, including Nepali Congress and Nepal Communist Party-UML, is considering to hold either a referendum or constituent assembly polls to decide the fate of monarchy even as the Maoists are pressing the government to abolish monarchy and declare Nepal a Republican state.

The senior leader said it would not be appropriate to divide the Nepalese people on whether they want monarchy or Republican set-up by conducting referendum on the issue.

"Still there are some sections of people, who favour monarchy," he pointed out.

"If Lord Mountbatten can be made the first governor of India after independence in 1947, there is no harm in making King Gyanendra the first president as a compromising solution," he suggested.

He called upon the international community, including neighbouring countries, to persuade the Nepalese parties and the King to accept the idea.

"We also do have that type of tradition as you see in 1950 when the Ranas were overthrown. The last Rana Prime Minister Mohan Shumsher was made the first Prime Minister of the democratic government and later he quit power," he said.

"I have floated this idea after consulting with many people including my party colleagues," he said.

But first, there should be a consensus among the seven-party alliance and the Maoists on that and the King should also be taken into confidence, he added.

The King can become a respectable citizen after the new President is elected in a year or two, he said.

"This will lead a peaceful settlement of the crisis we are confronted with at the moment," he said adding "If the King voluntarily abdicates, future generations will not have to launch another struggle for restoring democracy," he said.

Shrestha said the forthcoming high-level dialogue between Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chief Prachanda will be held after the top leaders of the seven political parties discuss the key issues that need to be settled.

The top leaders of the ruling parties will meet after Nepali Congress (D) President and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba returns from his foreign visit on Friday.

The high-level dialogue will settle all remaining matters including finalising the draft of the interim constitution, management of the Maoists arms and formation of the interim government inclusive of the rebels that would pave way to hold constituent assembly election.

First Published: Sep 14, 2006 15:09 IST