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Tuesday, November 18, 2008
International

Nepal begins work on new constitution

Lawmakers in Maoist-run Nepal have officially started work on a new constitution for the young republic, officials said yesterday.

Nepal's Maoists, who ended their decade-long "people's war" in 2006, now lead the country after they won landmark elections earlier this year and pushed through the abolition of the authoritarian monarchy.

"The process of drafting has now started and the peace process will formally be over once the constitution is made public on May 28, 2010," said Manohar Prasad Bhattarai, general secretary of the assembly elected to produce the new constitution.

The timetable for the constitution was approved on Sunday by the 601-members of Nepal's constituent assembly.

"With widespread public consultations planned, this will be the first constitution created by the Nepalese people themselves," said Bhattarai.

A new constitution was a key Maoist demand, and is central to the country's peace process.

"When we get a new constitution, we feel our dreams will have been realised," said Dinanath Sharma, a senior Maoist lawmaker. "It will be a tribute to all those people who were killed and fought for our cause."

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