Nepal's Constituent Assembly begins crucial voting on new constitution draft despite protests

Nepal's Constituent Assembly has begun voting on a draft of the Himalayan nation's much-delayed new constitution despite protests from ethnic minority groups.

Speaker Subash Nemwang commenced the voting Sunday on the draft and amendment proposals sought by assembly members.

The voting is expected to take at least a day or two.

Nepal's three major political parties are determined to get the constitution passed this week and had invited protesting parties and groups for weekend talks. One group met with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, but no agreement was reached.

Nepal has had an interim constitution since pro-democracy protests forced then-King Gyanendra to give up authoritarian rule and turn the country into a republic. A Constituent Assembly elected in 2008 failed to draft a new charter. Another assembly was elected in 2013.