Nepal Maoists vow to disrupt assembly elections

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KATHMANDU, Sep 18 (Reuters) Nepal's Maoist former rebels vowed today to disrupt preparations for November's historic elections for a special assembly meant to write a new constitution, unless the monarchy was abolished immediately.

Announcing a series of peaceful nationwide protests shortly after quitting the interim government, the Maoists also warned that they could take up arms again if their demands were ignored.

''We will not accept the code of conduct announced by the election commission and we will disrupt all ongoing election plans,'' Maoist deputy leader Baburam Bhattarai told a rally in Kathmandu, calling a three-day general strike from October 4.

''We will launch peaceful protests, but we have the right to counter those who try to suppress our peaceful programme.'' The threat represents a major setback to last year's peace deal in which the former rebels ended a decade-old insurgency that had cost some 13,000 lives and agreed to hold elections for the assembly to decide the fate of the monarchy.

REUTERS ARB HT1712

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