Nepal's parliament has voted unanimously to strip King Gyanendra of his powers, a move that would effectivelytransform the Hindu mountain kingdom into a secular constitutional monarchy.
Theruler of Nepal has traditionally been revered as an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. As head of the government and army, hisabsolute powersincluded exemption from taxes and freedom from any prosecution.
Gyanendra will lose those powers and become little more than a symbolicmonarchwhenThursday's vote is ratified.
"This [vote] ends the remains of the royal regime and establishes the king as only a figurehead," said Narayanman Bijuchche of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party.
Even the royalists agreed with theparliamentary initiative.
"This move has turned the country toward a new goal and target. This will give political stability," said Surya Bahadur Thapa of the royalist Rastriya Janshakti Party.
Procedures to formally enact the legislation are expected to be completed within days.
The drive to strip Gyanendraofhisauthority followed weeks of street fighting in thenation's capital, Kathmandu.
To help quell the violence, Gyanendragave up direct control of the government, reinstating the parliament that he had expelled last year and returning its political authority.
"This proclamation represents the feelings of all the people," Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala told the parliament, adding that it "respects the sacrifices of the people who were martyred during the movement" to unseat Gyanendra.
News of Thursday's vote was greeted with victory rallies across the country, and more were planned for Friday. In Kathmandu, residents lit candles outside their houses in celebration.