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King bows to pressure, vows to hold elections

By Super

Kathmandu, Apr 14: Amid severe domestic and intenational criticism, Nepal King Gyanendra today vowed to hold general elections in the country and invited all political parties to join in a dialogue process for the restoration of democracy.

''It is our desire that with the active participation of all the political parties committed to peace and democracy, a meaningful exercise in multi-party democracy be initiated through the exemplary democratic exercise like the general elections,'' the king said in his message to the nation on the occasion of the Nepali New Year 2063.

Observing that there was no alternative to democracy in the 21st century and that the verdict of the ballot alone was legitimate, the king stressed on the need of holding election in his message although he refrained from announcing any dates for the polls.

He stressed that all the problems must be resolved through dialogues only.

''Aware of our traditions and sensitivities as well as the self-respect and self-confidence of the Nepalese people who have always remained independent throughout history, dialogue must form the basis for the resolution of all problems,'' he said.

Without directly referring to the ongoing demonstration throughout the country against the monarchy, King Gyanendra said, ''We call upon all political parties to join in a dialogue, which we have always advocated, to bear the responsibility of and contribute towards activating the multiparty democratic polity.'' ''We are in favour of sustainable peace and the people's right to vote. Democratic norms and values demand a commitment that the goals set forth by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990 can be achieved only through constitutional means.'' Without mentioning the Maoists in his address, the king shunned extremism and said it had no place in democracy.

''Democracy demands restraint and consensus as all forms of extremism are incompatible with democracy. While facing the challenges confronting the nation, democracy also emphasises acceptance of the preeminence of the collective wisdom in charting a future course.'' The king had earlier ordered to hold the general election by April next year.


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