KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Nepal took the first step on the path to becoming a republic Friday after parliament voted to amend the constitution ending the 240-year-old monarchy, the speaker of parliament said.
"The parliament today declared Nepal a federal democratic republic," speaker of Nepal's parliament Subash Chandra Nembang told CNN over the phone after the vote.
However, according to the amendment, the implementation of the republic would only be after the first meeting of the constituent assembly, elections for which is to be held by mid-April next year.
"Before the amendment the constitutional provision was that the constituent assembly's first meeting would decide whether the monarchy would remain or not," said Nembang. "Today's vote is a positive vote in that direction."
Friday's parliamentary vote follows an agreement by the governing coalition, including the former communist rebels known as Maoists, on Sunday to amend the constitution and abolish the monarchy.
The Maoists had given up their 10-year-long armed revolt in April 2006 after weeks of pro-democracy protests across the country forcing King Gyanendra to give up his authoritarian rule.
In November 2006 they had signed a peace deal with the democratic government and joined government in April this year.
They pulled out of government in September demanding immediate removal of the monarchy plunging the country into political crisis and the postponement of elections earlier slated for November. E-mail to a friend
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