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Nepal’s Parliament strips king of veto power

/ Source: The Associated Press

Nepal’s Parliament has stripped King Gyanendra of his veto power over the legislature, the latest measure to curtail his authority after he was forced to give up absolute rule, officials said Sunday.

The new law, endorsed by legislators late Saturday, scraps the king’s right to reject bills and laws passed by Parliament, according to a Parliament notice published Sunday.

Lawmakers also will no longer need to seek the approval of the king before signing a bill into law, it said.

“The concept of king in Parliament has been abolished through law,” said Ram Baran Yadav, a legislator of the Nepali Congress, the country’s largest party.

The move is the latest in a string of laws enacted by Parliament to dramatically cut Gyanendra’s powers and turn him into a figurehead leader. Weeks of protests against his dictatorial rule forced the king to reinstate Parliament and relinquish direct control over the government in April.

“We are now free to criticize the king and the royal family members in Parliament,” said Laxmi Shakya, a lawmaker from the Communist Party of Nepal.

Last month, Parliament voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that stripped Gyanendra of his command over the army, legal immunity, and freedom from paying taxes. The resolution must be voted on as a series of laws.

The king also lost his official position as head of the Himalayan nation, changing traditional references to “His Majesty’s government” to simply the “Nepal government.”

Gyanendra fired the country’s prime minister in February 2005, citing a need to clamp down on corruption and stamp out a communist insurgency that has killed 13,000 people in the past decade.