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Ex-king "very perturbed" at turn of Nepal events

world Updated: Jul 07, 2009 10:47 IST

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KATHMANDU, July 7 (Reuters) - Nepal's deposed King Gyanendra said he was "very perturbed" at the lack of progress in establishing peace and prosperity for the people of the Himalayan nation a year after the end of the monarchy.

Gyanendra has been keep a low profile in a private home in Kathmandu since June last year after a specially elected assembly, dominated by Maoist former rebels, overwhelmingly voted to end the 239-year-old monarchy.

Gyanendra, in the first statement since being stripped of the crown, said late on Monday that he left the Narayanhiti royal palace hoping his move would improve law and order and make the people prosperous and "content".

"Even in this changed context when I observe that there has been no improvement in the lot of my beloved fellow citizens, my brothers and sisters, I am very perturbed, very troubled and very anguished," he said.

The comments came on the eve of his 63rd birthday on Tuesday.

In recent months, the impoverished nation has seen a deterioration in the public security and the failure of the government to meet the expectations of the people, nearly one quarter of whom live on a daily income of less than a dollar.

Analysts say the comments by Gyanendra highlight fears that lawlessness is taking hold in Nepal, one of the world's poorest nations that is struggling to emerge from the Maoist conflict.

The insurgency caused more than 13,000 deaths, displaced thousands of people and hit the aid-and-tourism dependent economy.

Gyanendra ended his brief absolute rule and handed power to political parties in 2006, following weeks of bloody street protests.

It eventually paved the way for the Maoists to declare a ceasefire, sign a peace deal and score a surprise win in last year's elections for a special constituent assembly.

"I have always espoused for and committed myself to nationalism, national unity and a time-tested democratic dispensation," Gyanendra said.

There was no immediate comment from the government or the Maoists, who quit a coalition in May amid a row over the sacking of the country's army chief.