-  Saturday 15 December 2018

Maoists launch crusade against Nepal polls

 -  AFP

Sept 19 2007 - Nepal's Maoists launched a campaign against crucial polls set for November, a day after storming out of the government demanding the immediate abolition of the monarchy.

The former rebels had four ministers in government who resigned Tuesday, a major blow to the 10-month-old peace process in the impoverished Himalayan country.

"We are starting our door-to-door campaign Wednesday and now we aim to bring about a republic from street protests," Ananta, a deputy commander in the Maoist army, told AFP.

The Maoists are embarking on a three-week protest programme that includes strikes and demonstrations, aimed at derailing polls to elect a body to rewrite the constitution and decide the future of Nepal's monarchy.

"All our sister organisations will be mobilised from Wednesday to ensure the constituent assembly elections are unsuccessful," said Ananta, who is also a member of the Maoist central committee.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has a number of ethnic and caste supporter groups as well as the feared Young Communist League, whose members are frequently accused of thuggish, violent behaviour.

The party of ex-insurgents, who signed a landmark peace deal last November, says that holding the polls will be meaningless unless the monarchy is abolished because royalists plan to disrupt the vote.

Although they have left the government, the Maoists were continuing to hold discussions with the seven other mainstream parties in the defunct coalition, said Dev Gurung, who had served as local development minister until Tuesday.

"We can hold protests and talks in parallel," said Gurung.

"The door to discussion is always open. We are hopeful that they will rethink our proposition and seriously consider our demands."

A top member of the country's biggest party, the Nepali Congress, said he hoped the former rebels would change their stance.

"This is political deadlock," party central committee member Arjun Narsingh told AFP.

"It's very important that Maoists remain with us for the peace process to continue. The Maoists will be at Wednesday's meeting and we will try to reach some sort of arrangement," he said.

A month ago, the Maoists issued a list of 22 conditions for the holding of the November polls, including the immediate abolition of the monarchy and a fully proportional electoral system.

The seven other parties in government refused to meet their demands, prompting the former rebels to quit the government.

The Maoists also accuse the coalition government of not working under the terms of various agreements they struck with mainstream political parties.

Analysts say the Maoist move jeopardises the peace process while the United Nations, which was invited to monitor Maoist soldiers and help with the polls, are urging the ex-rebels to abide by previous commitments -- which included joining the elections and letting the fate of the monarchy be decided through that process.

A decade-long civil war, which ended with last year's peace deal, left at least 13,000 dead.

Source : AFP
© FRANCE NEPAL info

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