Maoists to take part in polls, but without king


Kathmandu : Nepal’s Maoist guerrillas Sunday announced fresh commitment to the historic election to be held in November but said King Gyanendra would have to go before that.

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“Nowhere in the world has a monarch ever quit his throne voluntarily or peacefully accepted the public verdict against him,” Maoist chief Prachanda said at a press conference here, called to make public the decisions taken by over 2,000 representatives at his party’s recently concluded plenum.

“Our agreement with the seven parties was to hold the election as early as possible, around last November, when the passion against the king’s regime was at the peak.

“But there was a deliberate attempt to dilute the passion by delaying the election, which could not be held even in June 2007.”

The delay, the guerrilla supremo said, had given the king an opportunity to try and sabotage the polls by stoking violence in the Terai plains as well as some hill regions.

“We are very apprehensive that the election may not be held even on Nov 22,” Prachanda said. “We are the party that fought for 10 years and saw 10,000 of our cadres sacrifice their lives so that the election could be held.

“But there are feudal regressive forces both at home and abroad who are trying to block the exercise.”

Prachanda said his party would begin a peaceful movement to keep up the pressure on Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s government to hold the election in November.

However, he did not elaborate what form the movement would take or when it would start.

His party would also lobby to have monarchy abolished before the election, Prachanda said.

The rebel chief said his party had begun talks with the other parties to have the deed accomplished before November.

The international community that had been asking for the polls to be held in time would also be involved in the parleys, he added.

Prachanda denied that he was going against the pact with the parties by insisting on a republic before the polls.

“When we agreed to have the king’s fate be decided by the election, we had also agreed to hold the exercise in June,” he said.

He also pointed out that keeping in mind the fears that the king, who had seized power through a coup in 2005, might make another similar attempt, parliament had decided this year that if two-third of the MPs deemed the king was trying to foment trouble, his crown could be axed before the poll.

The Maoist demand is being opposed by Koirala’s Nepali Congress party and some of Nepal’s foreign donors.