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Nepal polls scheduled for April 10

world Updated: Jan 11, 2008 23:09 IST
Anirban Roy

The Nepal government on Friday finally announced fresh dates for the crucial Constituent Assembly election. It will be held on April 10 in a single phase.

The elections had been announced twice earlier, for June 20 and November 22 last year, but on both occasions had to postponed following the Maoists unwillingness to participate until its two demands were met.

The Maoists wanted Nepal to be declared a republic, abolishing the monarchy earlier, and a system of proportional election adopted, as prevails in many European countries, and not the first-past-the-post system that operates in countries like India or Britain.

A meeting of the top leaders of the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Maoists had earlier approved the new date of the election, which was on Friday endorsed by the interim council of ministers before being made public.

The political parties decided to give the election commission 90 days to make the necessary preparations.

The leaders of the ruling Seven Party Alliance (SPA) also decided to invite the armed groups in the Terai region for peace talks. The insurgent outfits have unleashed a reign of terror there.

The government remains worried that the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM), the largest insurgent outfit in the Terai, might try to sabotage the CA election in those 23 districts in the south of the country, bordering India.

The Nepal government on Sunday will officially request the election commission to start preparations for the CA election, sources in the PMO told Hindustan Times, adding that the Nepal parliament would also have to pass some appropriate laws to enable the poll to be held.