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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Nepal party ends support for king
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu

Nepal's King Gyanendra
The king says the political parties have to promise good governance
The largest political party in Nepal has formally dropped its allegiance to the system of monarchy in the country.

The change came at the Nepali Congress' convention in Kathmandu.

It reflects the rift between political parties and King Gyanendra which has grown especially wide since he seized political power seven months ago.

The 60-year-old Nepali Congress has always regarded itself as a centrist party and upheld the principle that Nepal should be a kingdom.

'Break with past'

The party convention has now approved a resolution altering the wording of the party constitution.

It had earlier spoken of creating a just society within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, a multi-party system and parliamentary government.

But now it has now dropped all mention of the monarchy.

Analysts say this does not mean the Nepali Congress is pushing for a republic.

It is an issue which splits Congress leaders but the party is now officially neutral on the issue.

Its leader Girija Prasad Koirala is himself a royalist but says the party was forced to make this change because, he alleges, the king has refused to remain constitutional.

'Divine incarnations'

King Gyanendra is part of a 237 year old dynasty that officially moved away from absolute rule in 1990.

Many Nepalis believe these Hindu kings are divine incarnations.

The second biggest party, a communist party that until now has also been pro-royal, has just made a more sweeping change saying it will push for a republic.

Some commentators in Nepal believe that if the monarch continues to reign in an absolute manner the parties will get still more radical.

In an interview this week, the king appeared to express concern that divisions between him and the parties would only help the avowedly republican Maoist rebels.




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