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Koirala fails to persuade Maoists

At an emergency meeting of the seven-party ruling alliance and the Maoists, the former rebels did not agree to withdrawn their decision to quit the government.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2007 22:15 IST

Nepal's ruling coalition failed to persuade the Maoist leadership to rejoin the government as the former rebels launched a campaign against the November constituent assembly polls that threatens to derail the landmark peace process in the country.

At an emergency meeting of the seven-party ruling alliance and the Maoists, the former rebels did not agree to withdrawn their decision to quit the government and call off their plans for street protests.

Arjun Narsingh of Nepali Congress party said Maoists did not agree to return to the government or call off their plans for street protests, but agreed to meet again in a few days.

Maoist chairman Prachanda held a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister G P Koirala before the eight-party meeting began.
Prachanda agreed to discuss the matter with his party colleagues before taking any decision in this regard, Nepali CongressDemocratic Vice President Gopal Man Shrestha said.

The former rebels announced three-week long protests and "door-to-door campaign", including strikes and demonstrations, aimed at derailing the constituent assembly polls on November 22 that aims to form a body to frame a constitution and decide the fate of the 238-year old monarchy.

"We are starting our door-to-door campaign and now we aim to bring about a republic from street protests," said top Maoist leader Ananta.

The top leaders of the eight political parties in their meeting at Koirala's residence agreed to keep intact their unity and find a way out of the current political crisis by maintaining consensus on key issues.

A source quoted Prime Minister Koirala as telling the leaders that "If the eight parties remain divided the regressive elements will stand to benefit."

Koirala said the eight-party unity was essential as the political situation of the country was serious.
Prachanda also stressed the need to keep the eight-party unity intact.

The leaders also agreed to meet soon for "detailed discussion" on the issues that forced the Maoists to quit the government.

The seven party alliance leaders earlier termed the Maoists decision to kick start an agitation and disrupt the polls as a move that would ultimately benefit the king and the "regressive forces".

Shrestha said the Maoists should not backtrack from the polls as it would only benefit the pro-king forces.
The government has been saying that abolition of the monarchy through the legislature as per Maoists demand would not get international recognition without going to the polls.

Earlier, the eight party alliance including the Maoists had agreed to abolish the monarchy through the Constituent Assembly. Later, however, the Maoists changed their stance.

The Maoists joined Nepal's parliament in January and the government in April. The former rebels' four ministers in the interim government resigned yesterday in a major blow to the peace process that took shape last year in Nepal after a decade-long civil war, which killed at least 13,000 people.