Nepal’s parliament has passed a new constitution creating a federal state following an earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people.
The new charter will replace an interim constitution in place since the end of a decade-long civil war that led to the abolition of the Hindu monarchy, and is due to come into force on Sunday evening, Agence France-Presse reported.
It will divide the Himalayan nation of 28 million people into seven federal provinces.
The move is intended to devolve power from the center, but critics think it’s not enough to empower marginalized sectors of society.
The Madhesi and Tharu ethnic minorities, who mainly inhabit the country’s southern plains, claim the new internal borders will leave them underrepresented in the parliament, the report said.
Political leaders, however, say the long standoff over the constitution must now end so the country can start rebuilding after a devastating earthquake in April.
“It is an issue of pride for all Nepalis that the people’s constitution has been passed from the Constituent Assembly,” tweeted Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
Koirala has said he will step down as prime minister once the new constitution is in place, and a new government is expected to be formed.
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