US slams poll as hollow exercise | india | Hindustan Times
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US slams poll as hollow exercise

It said the only way to deal with the Maoist problem is to restore democracy in Nepal.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 20:45 IST

The United States has slammed the elections in Nepal as a "hollow attempt on the part of the King to legitimise power" and said the only way to deal with the Maoist problem is to restore democracy in the Himalayan Kingdom.

"The United States believes Nepal's Municipal elections called by the King today represented a hollow attempt to legitimise power," the State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said on Wednesday.

He said there was a clear lack of public support for the elections and the voter turnout in the capital is estimated under 25 per cent.

"Outside Kathmandu, turnout was reportedly half that level in some places," he said.

Criticising the government, the spokesman said the administration had detained large numbers of political activists before the elections, restricted media, and refused to allow independent outside monitors.

He pointed out that "the only effective way to deal with the threat posed by Maoists is to restore democracy in Nepal."

"We call upon the King to release all political detainees and initiate a dialogue with the political parties. His continuing refusal to take these steps is leading his country further down the path of violence and disorder," McCormack added.