-  Saturday 14 December 2019

Nepal's Rebel Party Will Rejoin Government Soon, Leader Says

 -  Bloomberg

Dec 25 2007 - Nepal's rebel party will rejoin the government after the Cabinet agreed two days ago to move to abolish the monarchy and make changes to the Himalayan nation's voting system.

``We will return to the government in a day or two,'' Puspa Kamal Dahal, the party's leader, said yesterday, according to Nepalnews.com. The leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) said the Dec. 23 accord between the leaders of the country's seven main parties was ``historic.''

The agreement calls for the interim constitution to be amended to declare Nepal a republic, subject to ratification by the first meeting of the newly elected National Assembly. The parties agreed to elect the assembly under a combined voting system of proportional representation and direct election.

The Maoists, who fought for 10 years to overthrow the monarchy, ended their armed struggle under a November 2006 peace accord and joined an interim government. They quit the Cabinet in September after other parties in the coalition refused to immediately declare a republic and adopt a new voting system. Elections scheduled for Nov. 22 were postponed.

The Cabinet hasn't set a new date for the National Assembly election, Nepalnews.com said. The rebel party leader, who is also known as Pachandra, said yesterday it would be held by the middle of April, according to the report.

Election Threatened

The Maoists, who brought 30,000 fighters into camps under United Nations supervision as part of the peace accord, said Nepal had to be declared a republic immediately because supporters of King Gyanendra could undermine the election.

The 601-member National Assembly will comprise 335 seats elected under proportional representation, 240 via direct election and 26 appointed by the Cabinet, according to Nepalnews.com. It will draw up a new constitution for the nation of 28 million people.

Gyanendra became king in 2001 after his brother, King Birendra, and most family members were shot dead in a domestic dispute. He dismissed the government in February 2005 for failing to end the Maoist insurgency and ruled as an autocratic monarch for 14 months.

Gyanendra was forced to restore parliament in April 2006 in the face of mass demonstrations and has since been stripped of much of his power. He is no longer head of the army and his income and assets are taxable under a resolution passed unanimously by lawmakers in May 2006 that turned Nepal, once the world's only Hindu kingdom, into a secular state.

Located between India and China, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, where about 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

The country is home to Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak, which attracts climbers from around the globe. More than 13,000 people were killed in the civil war, which damaged the tourism-dependent economy.

Source : Bloomberg
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