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Nepal rebel chief not to join interim parliament

Prachanda, and some of his top deputies will not join an interim parliament as part of a landmark peace deal with the government.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 12:48 IST

Nepal's Maoist chief, Prachanda, and some of his top deputies will not join an interim parliament as part of a landmark peace deal with the government, a rebel leader said on Friday.

The rebels and the multiparty government, headed by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, are due to set up a provisional parliament on Monday under the deal which paves the way for the Maoists to disarm and later join an interim government.

"We have a policy that main leaders will not join the interim parliament or government," said chief Maoist negotiator and rebel spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who will lead the rebels in the provisional legislature.

"They will stay out and work among the people for the party," he told the agency.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) will control at least 73 seats in the 330-member interim parliament, which will include 209 members of the existing legislature and 48 members of the public selected by the two sides through consensus.

Prachanda and his senior deputy, Baburam Bhattarai, had already said they would not join the interim government.

Mahara said the 52-year-old rebel chief, whose nom de guerre roughly translates as "fierce" or "strong", would prepare the party for elections for a constituent assembly, expected in June.

"It is the party that is more important and the chairman will work for it," Mahara said, referring to Prachanda.

The rebels have vowed radical redistribution of land and wealth in the impoverished country but say the interim parliament and administration will be unable to implement that agenda fully.

That, they say, is a key reason why Prachanda must keep his distance from parliament and cabinet.

The seven-party government and the rebels signed the peace accord in November, declaring an end to a decade-old conflict which has killed more than 13,000 people.

The provisional government will supervise the polls to elect the constituent assembly that will draft the final constitution, and, the rebels hope, abolish the monarchy.

First Published: Jan 12, 2007 12:48 IST