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Nepal's parliament votes in favor of amending constitution amid unrest

Madhesi parties have rejected the parliament's vote in favor of the constitution, saying it does not meet their demands. The vote comes amid government efforts to quell violent protests in Nepal's southeastern plains.

With a two-third majority, Nepal's parliament on early Sunday endorsed a bill to amend the constitution in a bid to end months of unrest in the country's southeastern plains.

"I announce that the Nepal constitution first amendment bill has been passed with a two-thirds majority in favor, said parliamentary speaker Onsari Gharti Magar.

The amendments to Nepal's new constitution address social justice, the formation of a house of representatives and the delineation of electoral constituencies to ensure minority and marginalized communities receive greater representation.

The amendment was backed by the ruling coalition and main opposition party.

However, the Madhesi parties rejected the amendment, saying it did not go far enough to address the ethnic group's demands,

"We reject the amendment that does little to address our demands. It does not even touch our main demand for changing the borders of the provinces," said Laxman Lal Karna of the United Democratic Madhesi Front before walking out with other lawmakers opposing the bill.

In September 2015, Nepal adopted a new constitution that reconfigured federal provinces, effectively splitting the Madhesi's ancestral homeland, which the ethnic group says will result in them having less representation in the government.

Since August, more than 50 people have been killed in protest-related violence in Nepal's southeastern plains.

ls/rc (dpa, AP, AFP)