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Nepal finalises interim constitution

The constitution will come into effect after it is endorsed by the Cabinet and approved by House of Representatives.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2006 16:22 IST

Nepal's ruling parties and Maoist rebels on Saturday finalised an interim constitution which removes King Gyanendra as the head of the state.

The Constitution was finalised after top leaders of the eight political parties, including Prime Minister GP Koirala and Maoist Chief Prachanda, put their signatures on the document after 16-hours of hectic discussions at the PM's residence in Baluwatar, paving the way for the rebels to join the government.

According to the constitution, which has 167 articles, all executive powers as well as those enjoyed by the King in the previous Constitution now vest upon the Prime Minister, Rajendra Mahato, General Secretary of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party, who was also present during the meeting said.

Prime Minister Koirala, Communist party chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress (D) President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and other top leaders put their signatures on the constitution at 8 am (local time) after whole night discussions at Baluwatar stripping King Gyanendra of all powers.

The Constitution will come into effect only after it is endorsed by the Cabinet and approved by the House of Representatives.

The Constitution will come into force only after Maoists' arms are managed under UN monitoring. The cabinet meeting will also have to endorse the Interim Constitution.

All powers of the 238-year-old monarchy have been stripped, making King Gyanendra a civilian king, state-run Radio Nepal said adding the powers, including those enjoyed by the head of the state, will also vest upon the Prime Minister.

However, there is no specific mention of who will head the state during the Interim Constitution, sources said.

There will be a double ballot paper system as the Constituent Assembly polls will be held in mixed type.

Of the total 409 Constituent Assembly seats, 205 will be elected directly and remaining will be elected through proportionate representation. One third seats in the 209 seats of the Constituent Assembly would be reserved for women.

The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly election will decide whether the country will adopt a republican set up or continue with the monarchy.

However, Nepal Sadbhavana Party has put its note of dissent differing with the issue of deliniatng the 205 constituencies on the basis of population before the CA polls are held, Rajendra Mahato said.

He said the present constituency delineation has not done justice to the Terai people.

Maoist Spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara said, the arms management issue will be settled within 8-10 days paving way for the rebels to join the interim government.

First Published: Dec 16, 2006 11:34 IST