World

Nepal at crossroads as constitution passes against protests of ethnic groups over boundaries

  • Nepalese lawmakers greet each other after the final constitution process at Constitution Assembly hall in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Nepal's Constituent Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that has been delayed for years because of differences between political parties. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

    Nepalese lawmakers greet each other after the final constitution process at Constitution Assembly hall in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Nepal's Constituent Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that has been delayed for years because of differences between political parties. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nepalese lawmakers greet each other after the final constitution process at Constitution Assembly hall in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Nepal's Constituent Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that has been delayed for years because of differences between political parties. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

    Nepalese lawmakers greet each other after the final constitution process at Constitution Assembly hall in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Nepal's Constituent Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that has been delayed for years because of differences between political parties. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, third right, and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, third left, along with others wave hands after the final constitution process at Constitution Assembly hall in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Nepal's Constituent Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that has been delayed for years because of differences between political parties. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

    Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, third right, and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, third left, along with others wave hands after the final constitution process at Constitution Assembly hall in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Nepal's Constituent Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that has been delayed for years because of differences between political parties. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)  (The Associated Press)

After a decade of political infighting and violent protests, the long-awaited passage of Nepal's constitution should be a reason to celebrate.

But there are also signs that the Himalayan nation's new political framework could set the stage for prolonged conflict as some ethnic groups are protesting the charter.

Lawmakers passed the constitution overnight that sets Nepal up as a secular federation of seven states, each with its own legislature.

Some ethnic groups say their concerns about how state borders are defined were ignored, while others want the country restored to a Hindu nation.

Weeks of protests, some of them violent, have left more than 44 people dead, including police officers.

Analyst and former election commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel says Nepal's future now "depends on how the state acts and reacts."