Nepal's former Maoist rebels, who form the main party in Nepal's Constituent Assembly, say they are prepared to give up their claim to the post of the first president of the new republic.

Senior Maoist official Barsha Man Pun said Thursday that a non-political candidate should be chosen for the largely ceremonial position.

Until now, Maoist officials had wanted the president to hold executive powers and had claimed the post as their own.

But rival parties said the Maoists, who won the most seats in recent elections, should not be able to hold the positions of both president and prime minister.

Nepal's Constituent Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to bring an end to the 239-year-old monarchy and make Nepal a republic.

The government said Wednesday it will allow deposed King Gyanendra to move to a palace outside Katmandu.

The main royal palace in the capital is to be turned into a national museum.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.