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Nepal Ends Emergency, but King Keeps Power


Nepal's King Gyanendra has lifted the state of emergency he imposed three months ago when he fired the government and assumed absolute power.

A proclamation lifting the emergency came on Saturday, hours after King Gyanendra returned from a trip to East Asia - during which he was advised to restore democracy to Nepal.

His political opposition welcomed the move, but called on him to disband a powerful anti-graft commission, which critics say was established to target politicians.

Yuvraj Ghimre, editor of Nepal's Samay magazine, says it is unclear if the democracy has truly been restored: "King continues to head the council of ministers. At the same time the Royal Commission on Corruption …continues to function with sweeping powers…So we have to see whether the shadow of emergency still continues to imperil the constitutional process…"

The King fired the government, suspended civil liberties and arrested hundreds of politicians and journalists on February 1st, saying the government had done nothing to halt a communist insurgency.

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