Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is located in South Asia. It is a landlocked country neighboured by China and India.
Nepal’s ecological zones run east to west about 800 km along its Himalayan axis, 150 to 250 km north to south. Nepal is divided into three main geographical regions: Himalayan region, mid hill region and Terai (plain) region. The highest point in the country is Mt. Everest (8,848 m) which is also the highest mountain of the world. The lowest point is in Kechana Kalan in Jhapa (60 m).
Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom with constitutional monarchy until 2006. On 18 May 2006, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to curtail the power of the king and declared Nepal a secular state. On 28 December 2007, a bill was passed in parliament to amend Article 159 of the constitution – replacing "Provisions regarding the King" by "Provisions of the Head of the State" – declaring Nepal a federal republic, and thereby abolishing the monarchy. The bill came into force on 28 May 2008.
On 21 November 2006, Nepal’s decade-long armed conflict ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). A central pillar of the accord is the writing of a new constitution that grants equal rights and opportunities to all Nepalese people. In April 2008, elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA) were held. The original timeframe of completing the constitution by 28 May 2010 proved too ambitious given the competing political agendas and the need for extensive public consultation. As a result the term of the assembly was extended four times and the last deadline was for 27 May 2012 to prepare a draft constitution. However the Assembly was not able to produce a constitution and it was dissolved on 27 May 2012.
After a few months' stalemate, the political parties agreed to go for a fresh mandate under an interim election government. Elections to the second Constituent Assembly were successfully held on 19 November 2013 and subsequently a new government and a new 601-member Constituent Assembly were formed. The CA finally delivered the long-overdue constitution of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, which was promulgated by the President on 20 September 2015. There has been mixed reactions to the new constitution. Sections of political parties in the south continue to stage strong protests against the constitution, demanding some amendments. The parties, however, have not been able to reach any agreement regarding the amendments.