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Former Nepal king set to quit palace

Latest update : 2008-06-11

Nepal's ousted king Gyanendra will leave the royal palace in Kathmandu Wednesday, a day before a deadline set by a Maoist-led constitutional assembly, according to a palace official.

 

Nepal's ousted King Gyanendra will leave his official palace and move to one of his former residences on Wednesday, an aide said, two weeks after the abolition of the monarchy.

 

A special assembly elected in April ended the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy last month, turning the Himalayan nation into a republic.

 

The assembly gave Gyanendra until Thursday to vacate the sprawling Narayanhiti royal palace in Kathmandu which will be turned into a museum.

 

"He will move out of the palace on Wednesday and most likely hold a news conference before leaving," said Phaniraj Pathak, his press secretary. "The exact time for the news conference and when he will leave the palace are yet to be finalised."

 

The Nepali government will allow Gyanendra to live in the state-owned Nagarjun palace, eight km (five miles) northwest of Kathmandu, until he arranges a private home.

It used to be his summer palace before the government took over ownership last year.

 

His son Paras lives in his old private home where Gyanendra used to stay before ascending the throne in 2001.

 

 

 

PEACE DEAL

 

The end of the monarchy was part of a 2006 peace deal with the Maoist rebels who joined the political mainstream after a decade-long civil war which caused more than 13,000 deaths.

 

The Maoist former rebels secured a surprise win in the April elections for a constituent assembly and are set to form a coalition government since they do not enjoy the required majority in the 601-seat body.

 

They also wanted the king to vacate the palace as soon as possible.

 

Authorities say Gyanendra will get 50 police and 25 soldiers as security staff after moving out of the palace.

 

Gyanendra became unpopular after he grabbed absolute power in 2005 to fight the Maoists but was forced to hand power back to political parties after weeks of protests against him the following year.

 

He has since been stripped of all powers leading to the ultimate end of the monarchy.

 

A government appointed team is preparing an inventory of the property and other valuables of Gyanendra which will be the possession of the government, officials said.

Date created : 2008-06-11

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