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Nepal Parliament could rein in Crown Prince

The house is expected to approve new measures to further axe the King's legislative powers, including the power to name his successor.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 15:52 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Nepal's Parliament is all set to rein in controversial Crown Prince Paras by introducing a series of changes that would empower the house and the cabinet to appoint an heir to King Gyanendra.

The house is expected to approve new measures to further axe King Gyanendra's legislative powers, including the power to name his successor.

Though the king's only son, 35-year-old Paras, was declared heir to Nepal's throne five years ago, the political changes in the kingdom and growing anger against the royal family has put Paras' succession and even Gyanendra's continuation in question.

After Nepal's parliament last month made a historic proclamation that stripped the king of his powers and gave the house the authority to choose his heir, a 17-member committee of MPs was formed to decide the issue.

The panel has outlined several situations that could lead to the King's ouster. Besides death or falling ill and becoming unfit, the throne might fall empty if the King decides to abdicate or if he is found mentally unfit.

If one-fourth of the total number of MPs sign a petition saying the king is physically or mentally unfit to continue on throne and submit it to the speaker, the Cabinet would be authorised to take a decision.

The clause about physical and mental fitness is unprecedented in the 238-year-old history of the Shah dynasty of Kings of Nepal who have never had to face such a screening before.

The new regulations would jeopardise the chances of Paras becoming the next king in view of his unpopularity.

In the past, nearly 600,000 people took part in a signature campaign demanding that Paras be stripped of the privileges accorded to princes after he ran over a popular singer and killed him.

The new regulations were supposed to be tabled in parliament last week but were delayed after a dispute over the head of the regulatory committee.

While some MPs wanted the speaker to head the committee, others, especially Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's Nepali Congress party, wanted the premier to head it.

Media reports on Wednesday said finally both sides had agreed on Koirala.

Next month, the king and his family members would receive another blow when Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat tables the new budget.

After assuming office, Mahat pledged to slash the allowances of the royal family, which is accused of misappropriating millions during the four years of indirect and direct rule by King Gyanendra.

First Published: Jun 07, 2006 15:39 IST