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Nepal 05-28 Web

Monarchy likely to be abolished

Lawmakers prepared today to declare Nepal the world’s newest republic and bring an end to its centuries-old Hindu monarchy, as Nepalis rejoiced in the streets of the capital in anticipation of the announcement.

Across Katmandu, young men marched with red Maoist flags as residents young and old celebrated what many here see as the culmination of a two-year peace process with communist rebels that began after weeks of unrest forced King Gyanendra to restore democracy.

The king remained silent as it became apparent that his days as Nepal’s monarch were numbered, and the country’s leading politicians have in recent days threatened to remove him from the 1970s-era concrete palace by force if he refuses to go peacefully.

But in an apparent bid to defuse any potential standoff, the country’s newly elected assembly will give the outgoing king 15 days to vacate his palace after the republic is declared, said Bimalendra Nidhi of the centrist Nepali Congress, the second-largest party in the assembly.

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