Ameet Dhakal

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has said the King should be given a ceremonial role.

Arguing that all forces should get some space for lasting peace, Mr. Koirala said, "This is why I think the King should get a ceremonial role."

He said if the monarchy was not given some type of role, it would opt for some "unpleasant step." He did not elaborate what he meant by it.

Mr. Koirala was addressing party cadres in his hometown Biratnagar, some 450 km south-east of Kathmandu, on Wednesday. He said his party, Nepali Congress, was moving ahead with an agenda of giving the King a ceremonial and bringing the Maoists to the political mainstream.

This is for the first time Mr. Koirala or a senior leader of the Seven Party Alliance has spoken in favour of a ceremonial monarchy. Maoists have already said a republic is their goal and even the CPN-UML, a major left party in the Government, has passed a resolution from its central committee in favour of a "democratic republic."

Even within the centrist Nepali Congress, there is a lot of clamour for a democratic republic.