Nepal's parliament to vote on stripping king's powers

Nepal's legislature was set Monday to vote on a proclamation that proposes to clip King Gyanendra's powers and strip his command over the army, party officials said.

A draft of the declaration viewed by The Associated Press also proposes scrapping the Raj Parishad, the king's advisory council with more than 100 of his supporters, which was blamed for advising Gyanendra to seize absolute power last year.

The proposal was prepared by the alliance of seven ruling political parties, and with a majority of the legislators from these parties, it was likely to be adopted, said Parliament Speaker Subash Nemwang.

"This declaration would formalize that sovereignty and the source of power are with the people. This will change the system of political structure in the country," Nemwang said.

The king's power to make the final decision on major issues will be removed and given to parliament, said Ramesh Lekhak, legislator of the Nepali Congress Democratic.

"There will be major political changes once this proclamation is adopted. The entire executive powers will be with the government, and it will be accountable toward the parliament and not the king like in the past," said Lekhak.

The proposal says the king should be stripped of control over the 90,000-strong Royal Nepalese army.

Weeks of often violent street protests last month forced Gyanendra to give up direct control of the government, reinstate parliament, and return political authority to elected officials, reports the AP.

I.L.