Nepal rebels put condition on accepting democracy
Maoists said they were willing to hold talks if Gyanendra conceded that his army-backed coup in February 2004 was 'wrong'.india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 11:31 IST
Nepal's Maoist rebels are committed to multi-party democracy and willing to keep the monarchy "if the people choose," the group's leader said in a report published on Wednesday.
The interview with Maoist leader Prachanda in a leading Indian daily came as Nepal staged municipal polls denounced by the rebels and opposition parties as an attempt by King Gyanendra to legitimise his takeover of power a year ago.
Prachanda, whose Maoist movement has waged a deadly 10-year battle to topple monarchy, said he was willing to hold talks with the king if Gyanendra conceded that his army-backed coup in February 2004 was "wrong."
"Let us sit across the table, and then (if) he talks of a free and fair election to a constitutional assembly, then we will be ready to take part," said Prachanda, which loosely translates as "the fierce one."
The Maoists are fully committed to multi-party democracy so long as it is under a "new constitutional framework," he said.
"Our decision on multi-party democracy is a strategically, theoretically developed position," he told the paper.
Gyanendra, who said he seized power to quell the Maoist revolt that has claimed over 12,500 lives, has said the municipal polls are a first step back to democracy.
But the Maoists and opposition parties, which have formed a loose alliance, urged voters to boycott the polls. They want elections for a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution that would decide the king's future.
First Published: Feb 08, 2006 11:31 IST