Nepal holds crisis session over monarchy

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Kathmandu, Oct 11: The Nepali government will try to defeat a parliamentary motion by Maoists to immediately abolish the monarchy, a senior minister today said, amid fears of fresh political tension with the former rebels.

Debate on the Maoist motion for declaration of a republic and full proportional representation for elections will start on Thursday at an emergency session of the Himalayan nation's provisional parliament. A vote on the measure will come next week.

The Maoist motion for declaration of a republic and full proportional representation for elections will start on Thursday at an emergency session of the Himalayan nation's provisional parliament, and be put to a vote next week.

The impasse already led to postponement of constituent assembly elections after Maoists quit the government, casting a shadow over a peace deal reached last November ending a 10-year civil war that caused more than 13,000 deaths.

''This is an unconstitutional motion and we urge the Maoists to withdraw it,'' Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel said.

Prachanda, the Maoist chief, has threatened that they could bring down the government if it does not agree to their demands. Analysts say the Maoists still have the power to disrupt the government with large street protests and strikes.

Mainstream parties also want to abolish Nepal's unpopular monarchy, but some of them insist on waiting until after an election to form a constituent assembly to map out the political future of the country, a cornerstone of the peace deal.

''There is no question of us supporting it during the voting,'' said Poudel, also a senior leader of the Nepali Congress, Nepal's biggest party.

The Maoists quit the government last month, saying King Gyanendra and his supporters were trying to sabotage the vote, then set for November 22. Analysts say the Maoists started to worry they might perform poorly.

While mainstream parties will likely defeat the Maoist motion, a compromise could be forged to hold new elections by mid-April next year, some commentators said. ''All is not lost,'' the Nepali newspaper wrote. ''Despite the doom and gloom... the door to resolution is still ajar.''


Reuters>

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