Nepal: Royal Seal of Approval

Royal Seal of Approval

Seven months after a series of bloody riots persuaded him to agree to end 30 years of one-man rule, King Birendra Shah of Nepal last week promulgated a new constitution that reduces him to a mainly symbolic monarch. Like a British ruler, Birendra would serve as a figurehead who could act only with the approval of a council and Prime Minister. But he could still declare a national emergency following foreign aggression, deep economic crisis or armed revolt.

The changes were set in motion last April, when pro-democracy protests toppled the King's handpicked government and he was forced to lift a...

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