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Bhattarai gives four weeks to king to leave palace: report

Speaking at a function in the capital, CPN-Maoist second-in-command Baburam Bhattarai issues an ultimatum of four weeks to King Gyanendra to leave the royal palace.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Kathmandu
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2008 08:24 PM IST

A top Maoist leader in Nepal, who is tipped to be the country's next prime minister, has given an ultimatum of four weeks to the embattled king to step down and leave the Narayanhiti Royal Palace.

Speaking at a function in the capital on Thursday, CPN-Maoist second-in-command Baburam Bhattarai issued an ultimatum of four weeks to King Gyanendra to leave the royal palace, the Kantipur online said.

Bhattarai, who is in line to head the CPN-Maoist-led government after the former rebels maintained a strong lead in the count from last Thursday's vote on the impoverished country's political future, said the end of the monarchy will be on top of his priorities.

The Maoist leader, however, said a "respectful living" will be ensured for the king if he was ready to live as a common citizen.

Though the complete result of the April 10 polls is yet to come, the CPN-Maoist so far look set to dominate a 601-seat assembly that will rewrite Nepal's constitution, and expected to abolish the 240-year-old monarchy.

Bhattari also expressed confidence that the Nepal Army will support the Maoists in the integration process of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), the militia of the former rebels, with the country's military.

Earlier, he had said the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly will "respectfully remove monarchy".

Likewise, Maoist chairman Prachanda has urged Gyanendra to vacate the Narayanhity palace on his own.

"The people have already given their mandate. He should vacate the palace. That will make the job easier for us. And that will be in the interest of the country, him and all of us," Prachanda said at an interaction with business community on Wednesday.

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