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Nepal Declares Public Holiday as Maoists Join Parliament


Nepal has declared a public holiday Tuesday to mark the integration of former Maoist rebels into the country's new interim parliament.

Eighty-three Maoists became lawmakers in the 330-member assembly Monday after a temporary constitution was adopted.

The rebels are now the second largest party in parliament, after the Nepali Congress party. The rebel lawmakers include women and civil society activists, but not top Maoist leaders.

In the coming weeks, Nepal will form a transitional government to oversee elections for a special assembly that will draft a new constitution.

That assembly is also expected to decide the future of Nepal's monarchy. King Gyanendra was forced to give up direct rule last year after mass protests.

The Maoists ended their rebellion later in the year with a truce.

Some 13-thousand people were killed during their decade-long conflict.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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