Nepal king says to hand over power
By Gopal Sharma
1 hour, 20 minutes ago
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's King Gyanendra, facing sweeping anti-monarchy protests, said on Friday he was restoring political power to the people, but the country's largest party said that was not enough.
"Executive power of the kingdom of Nepal, which was in our safekeeping, shall from this day be returned to the people," King Gyanendra said in an address to the nation in the Nepali language.
"We ask the seven-party alliance to recommend the name for the post of prime minister at the earliest for the constitution of a council of ministers, which will bear the responsibility of governing the country in accordance with the constitution."
Krishna Prasad Sitaula, a spokesman of the Nepali Congress, a key constituent of the alliance, said the king had not "addressed the road map of the protest movement."
"Our protest campaign will continue," he said.
The king appeared to rule out any change of the constitution to curb his own powers, which has been a primary demand of the political parties. They have said elections to a constituent assembly, which would make such changes, was critical.
The parties, which have spearheaded more than two weeks of violent protests to force the restoration of democracy, are to give a joint response later, possibly on Saturday.
Looking serious and dressed in a Nepali cap and black jacket, Gyanendra said he was making the move "in keeping with the tradition of the Shah dynasty to reign in accordance with the popular will, in the greater interest of the nation and the people, and our unflinching commitment toward constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy."
The reactions of local residents were mixed.
"The king has given all he can," said Bobby Singh, a pilot with Royal Nepal Airlines. "Now the ball is in the seven-party alliance's court."
Prominent women's rights activist Prabha Thakar said: ...
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