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Nepal King to announce poll dates on April 14

Gyanendra will unveil dates for parliamentary election on April 14 when the Himalayan Kingdom celebrates its New Year.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2006 11:25 IST

Ignoring nationwide protests by opposition parties and the local elections fiasco last month, Nepal's King Gyanendra is firm about holding a general election and bringing the constitution under his control, a report said on Wednesday.

On April 14, when Nepal celebrates New Year's Day, the King will address the nation, during which he plans to unveil the dates for parliamentary elections, the popular Nepali weekly, Jana Aastha, said.

Gyanendra had seized power through a bloodless coup last year, saying he took the step to combat the escalating Maoist insurgency and promised to hand over power to an elected parliament by April 2007.

In his New Year address, the king will announce his plans to hold a general election between February and March 2007, the weekly reported.

"The royal policy is to hold elections despite the major parties deciding to boycott and oppose the exercise," it said.

"The design is to form a parliament loyal to the king, which will help him consolidate his control by amending the constitution."

The prediction comes even as the king has repeatedly spurned the advice of the international community to start reconciliation with the parties and unitedly begin peace talks with the Maoist guerrillas.

A year after he began ruling the kingdom directly, the king remained locked in an increasingly bitter battle with the parties, launching a fresh round of arrests and bans this week to put out a series of opposition protests scheduled from Thursday.

Last month, the royal government's image was badly tarnished in the eyes of the world as Gyanendra went ahead with municipal elections despite over 95 per cent of the parties not taking part.

About 20 per cent of the voters took part in the exercise, marred by allegations of force, bribery and mass withdrawal of candidacies by scared contestants.

First Published: Apr 05, 2006 11:25 IST