Maoists set to rejoin govt in Nepal

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Kathmandu, Dec 29: The CPN-Maoist party is all set to rejoin the interim government in Nepal today.

Maoist Chairman Prachanda is scheduled to hold a meeting with Prime Minister and President of Nepali Congress Girija Prasad Koirala in this connection this morning, Kantipur reported today. Dr Baburam Bhattarai, senior Maoist leader, said, ''Although we were prepared to rejoin the government today, the scheduled meeting between Mr Prachanda and Girija Prasad Koirala could not take place due to the parliamentary session and has been rescheduled for tomorrow morning.'' He said all the old Maoist ministers would return to the cabinet.

''We may send one or two new faces as ministers of state,'' he added.

Krishna Bahadur Mahara would again lead the Maoist team in the cabinet, Dr Bhattarai informed. The Maoist ministers would take charge of their old portfolios, he added.

The Interim Parliament of Nepal yesterday passed a third amendment to the Interim Constitution, stating that Nepal would become a federal democratic republic after the Constituent Assembly poll.

The Nepal Parliament amended Article 159 of the constitution. The amendment read: ''Nepal will be a federal democratic republic.'' The amendment also said the decision would be enforced by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

''The amendment provides for parliament, through a two-third majority, to abolish the monarchy before the CA poll if the government was convinced that the king was conspiring against the poll.'' The amendment also formally transferred the position of head of state to the prime minister.

A proposal by lawmakers from the three biggest ruling parties to make new arrangements for the appointment of parliament's general secretary and secretary, has been incorporated in the constitution.

Speaker Subas Nembang verified the bill last evening, bringing the amendment into immediate enforcement.

Most opposition parties and some ruling coalition members criticised the constitution amendment Bill tabled by the government for its failure to address the issues raised by Madhesi, Janajatis and other agitating groups.

Former prime minister and Rastriya Janashakti Party Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana alleged that the amendment was a blatant assault on the people's right to exercise sovereign powers.

''Constituent Assembly elected through fresh a mandate of the people is the only body that can exercise the people's sovereign power,'' said Mr Thapa. ''If this crucial decision is taken by the seven parties then where does sovereignty rest on?'', he asked.

Mr Thapa also warned of severe consequences because of SPA's authoritarian attitude.


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