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SPA calls off 19-day stir, to discuss future course

Written by: Staff

Nepal, Apr 25: The seven-party alliance, spearheading the agitation for restoration of democracy in Nepal, has decided to withdraw the ongoing 19-day strike following King Gyanendra's announcement to reinstate Parliament late last night.

However, a formal announcement will be made at rallies to be addressed by the top leaders of the SPA later in the day.

Leaders of the SPA are meeting at veteran politician Girija Prasad Koirala's house to discuss the future course of action.

The seven party alliance had earlier announced that it would strive to collect 20 lakh people for today's demonstrations and leaders of the constituent parties were to address rallies at various points.

The agitation rallies now seem to have turned into ''victory'' rallies after King Gyanendra announced the revival of the kingdom's dissolved Parliament -- a key demand of the seven-party alliance.

Nepal's Parliament has been dissolved since 2002, and a multi-party government was suspended in February last year when King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency and assumed absolute power himself.

''We, through this proclamation, reinstate the house of representatives which was dissolved on May 22, 2002,'' the King said on national television last night.

In the broadcast, the King hoped that the seven-party alliance would ensure the integrity of the nation, and summoned Parliament to meet at 1300 hrs on April 28.

Nepali Congress working committee member and party spokesman Krishna Sitaula told UNI.''We want revival of Parliament and formation of an all-party government -- answerable to Parliament only -- which will announce elections to a Constituent Assembly and call on the Maoists for dialogue.

This government will be succeeded by an interim government, which will contain representatives of the Maoists.'' Answering a question on whether the Maoists were comfortable with the roadmap, he said this incorporated one of their key demands -- a Constituent Assembly -- to decide the nation's future dispensation, as well as discussions on how such an assembly had to be elected but admitted that they had a 'credible fear'.

Meanwhile, India has welcomed the king's decision to revive parliament and hoped that an interim government would be in place in the Himalayan kingdom in a day or two.

Reacting to the king's broadcast, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, who is in Berlin along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, hoped that all the necessary steps had been taken by Nepal for the restoration of multi-party democracy.


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