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PM launches fresh talks with Maoists

world Updated: Nov 27, 2007 13:38 IST

Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has launched fresh talks with the Maoists and the Communist Party of Nepal-UML to hammer out a solution to the current political deadlock in the country.

The consultations among the three major parties, coming just ahead of resumption of the adjourned Parliament session, focussed on a new date for the key Constituent Assembly poll which was put off indefinitely after the Maoists threatened to disrupt it, demanding immediate declaration of Nepal as a Republic and adoption of a proportionate voting system.

The issues of Republic and electoral system also figured during the talks. The poll was to be held on November 22 to choose a special assembly that will re-write the country's constitution and decide the fate of the monarchy.

The "mistrust" among the parties must be ended to create an environment for holding the polls, Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai said.

"We proposed to the Prime Minister that an agreement on early declaration of Republic and electoral system must be reached on a package deal," Bhattarai was quoted as saying by The Himalayan Times today.

Meanwhile, Koirala's Nepali Congress has dismissed the idea floated by Maoist chief Prachanda to merge their People's Liberation Army with the Nepalese Army.

Describing as "irrelevant" the Maoist chairman's latest statement in this regard, NC leader Narahari Acharya said, "Prachanda has raised the right issue at the wrong time that has proven the doubts being expressed from different quarters that the Maoists would not go for the Constituent Assembly polls even after their preconditions were fulfilled."

Acharya also said the interim parliament is constitutionally incapable of taking such a political decision to declare the country a Republic.

"Since the interim constitution has put political consensus of seven-party alliance (SPA) above the supremacy of interim parliament, the latter has no right to settle a political dispute," he said.