Carter suggests political parties to declare Nepal republic

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Kathmandu, Nov 24 (UNI) Former US President Jimmy Carter, on his four-day visit to Nepal, urged the political parties to express commitment for declaring the country a Republic.

The parties should reach an agreement by December 15, which would be endorsed by the first meeting of the elected Constituent Assembly and proceed to an election hopefully to be held by mid-April 2008, he said.

The CA election has been postponed twice. The Maoists have left the government and said the election cannot be held unless monarchy was abolished.

A proposal presented by Maoists to declare Nepal a republic by the parliament has been endorsed with a simple majority with the support of left parties including the CPN-UML.

Mr Carter met Prime Minister Koirala before leaving Nepal and discussed the political situation.

He suggested that 70 per cent of the seats should be based on fully proportional representation system and remaining 30 per cent on the mixed electoral system.

Maoists and the other left parties have been saying that the fully proportional system should be introduced while Nepali Congress prefers mixed electoral system.

''I believe that the mistrust (among the parties) has been exacerbated by the failure on both sides to implement key provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Accord and subsequent agreements signed with the marginalised groups. These promises cannot be separated from the election process and they should be fulfilled in order to rebuild the trust among political leaders,'' Mr Carter said.

The government should adequately fulfill the promise to pay former Maoist combatants, who have now been in the cantonments for a year, provide decent living conditions, and make arrangements to assist those discharged to assume normal life, he said.

Maoists have also agreed to account for the funds received for the cantonments and to immediately discharge all minors, this has to be fulfilled.

''Additionally, the Maoists have agreed to return all land seized during the conflict. This commitment has not been respected and there are reports that they have recently begun seizing new land,'' Kantipur quoted the former US Prime minister as saying.

Maoists and its youth wing YCL cadres must cease activities as violence, harassment and extortions as it was ''unacceptable and is damaging the image of Maoists at home and abroad.'' Mr Carter said the relationship between the CPN-Maoist and the US government was gradually improving, informing that attempts to de-list the CPN-Maoist from the US State Department's terror list were on.


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