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Deal to end monarchy

Kathmandu, Dec. 23 (Reuters): Nepal’s government agreed today to abolish the centuries-old monarchy in a political deal with Maoist former rebels, but the decision only comes into effect after next year’s elections, party officials said.

The Himalayan nation plunged into a fresh political turmoil three months ago when the anti-monarchy Maoists, who ended their decade-long civil war last year, quit the government.

They were demanding an immediate declaration of a republic, a step that indefinitely delayed the constituent assembly elections that had been set for November.

Those polls, Nepal’s first national vote since 1999, were meant to map the country’s political future, including that of the monarchy, and expected to cap the landmark peace deal.

Government leaders met Maoist chief Prachanda to break the deadlock that has dealt a blow to the 2006 pact, ending the conflict which caused more than 13,000 deaths.

“Nepal will be a Federal Democratic Republic nation ... and the decision will be implemented after the first meeting of the constituent assembly,” the six-party ruling alliance and the Maoists said in a statement.

“But if the king creates serious hurdles to the constituent assembly elections, a two-third majority of the (interim) parliament can remove the monarchy even before the polls,” it said.

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