Nepal's king has vowed to bring multiparty democracy back to his Himalayan nation, nearly 15 months after he seized absolute control and triggered a bloody political crisis.
The king's vow Friday came after tens of thousands of people had taken to the streets for 16 straight days to protest against him, despite a curfew and shoot-to-kill orders issued by his government. Police killed 13 protesters and scores were wounded. Some 700 opposition activists are still in jail.
Addressing the nation on radio and television, King Gyanendra called on the seven main political parties to name a prime minister as soon as possible. He said he is returning the executive power back to the people.
There has been no immediate reaction by the main political leaders, who were busy holding meetings after the king's announcement. The political parties are now backed by the Maoist rebels who have been fighting the monarchy since 1996 and who control more than half of the country.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.