-  Saturday 24 October 2020

Nepal Maoists want their chief as president

 -  Reuters India

Kathmandu, Jan 26 2008  - Nepal's former Maoist rebels want their chief to become the president once the Himalayan nation is turned into a republic after this year's elections, a top Maoist leader said on Friday.

The Apr. 10 elections agreed by the government and Maoists are meant primarily to elect a special assembly to prepare a constitution for Nepal and declare an end to 239-year-old Hindu monarchy, the centrepiece of a peace deal that ended the decade-long Maoist civil war.

But Dev Gurung, a top Maoist leader, said the assembly would not just end up writing a constitution, but was also expected to consider the future government and the president.

"Therefore, the question of a leader who will become the president will arise," Gurung said.

"We have decided to campaign projecting our chairman Comrade Prachanda as a candidate for president," he said referring to the former guerrilla leader who goes by one name.

But analysts say protests by ethnic groups and violent clashes by armed rebels in the country's southern plains demanding regional autonomy posed a challenge to the twice-delayed polls.

Scores of people have died in those clashes since last year and the turmoil has clouded the pact with the Maoists.

Officials said vehicles were off the streets and shops downed their shutters in many areas in the restive region on Friday in response to a call by the ethnic Madheshi People's Rights Forum.

The group organised most of last year's protests in the region and wants that the area be turned into an autonomous region before the vote.

Source : Reuters India

Other articles by reporter Reuters India

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