Bills need no royal assent

Concept of `King in Parliament' abolishedAll the authority the King once had in Parliament eliminatedFirst face-to-face meeting between officials and Maoists

Kathmandu:Nepal's Parliament has unanimously voted to strip King Gyanendra of his right to veto laws, ensuring a purely ceremonial role for the once powerful monarch.

The new regulation was passed by the lawmakers late on Saturday, according to a Parliament notice.

It authorised the House of Representatives Speaker to certify the passage of any Bill in Parliament. The King will no longer be able to reject Bills and laws passed by Parliament, and the lawmakers will not need to seek his approval while signing Bills into law.

The King handed over power to the Seven-Party Alliance and reinstated Parliament in April this year after a 19-day agitation against him.

A Parliamentary proclamation last month drastically clipped the King's powers and Saturday's regulation formally eliminated all the authority he once had in Parliament.

All those Ministers, lawmakers and officials who were appointed or sworn in by the King earlier are required to take the oath of office once again before a 15-member Special Committee of MPs headed by the Speaker. They included the Prime Minister, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Upper House, Ministers, the Opposition leader, the Chief of the Army Staff, other senior Army officials, Ambassadors, and heads of constitutional bodies.

The concept of `King in Parliament' has been abolished through the new law.

Cabinet expanded

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Sunday expanded his Cabinet, adding a Deputy Prime Minister and two other Ministers.

Mr. Koirala appointed Amik Sherchan of the People's Front Nepal party as his deputy. Nepal now has two Deputy Prime Ministers the other one being Khadga Prasad Oli of the Communist Party of Nepal.

Minister meets Prachanda

In the first face-to-face meeting between government officials and Maoist rebels since mutual declaration of ceasefire, Home Minister Krishna Sitaula on Sunday held talks with Maoist leader Prachanda in western Nepal. PTI

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