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Maoists look to lead Nepal

Prachanda says he wants good relations with India and China. Anirban Roy reports.
Hindustan Times | By Anirban Roy, Kathmandu
UPDATED ON APR 13, 2008 03:02 AM IST

An end to the days of the monarchy is in sight in Nepal as the Maoists look set to sweep to power, taking 25 of the 47 results declared so far in Thursday’s Constituent Assembly election. The Nepali Congress is second with 10 seats and the CPN (UML) third with eight wins.

The Maoist party is leading in as many as 65 constituencies while the Nepali Congress is leading in 24 constituencies, and the CPN (UML) in another 18. Analysts believe that if the trends continue, then the Maoists will be able to form a government on their own steam.

The first sitting of the Constituent Assembly is likely to endorse the earlier proposal to declare Nepal a “federal democratic republic”. Earlier, the interim parliament had decided that the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly would endorse the promulgation of Nepal as a republic.

Scenting victory, Maoist chief Prachanda, who won from Kathmandu, told presspersons, “All eyes are upon us. This is a positive challenge for us. I want to clarify that the path of cooperation that we adopted since the 12-point agreement will continue.”

“For the international community and especially our neighbours India and China, I want to say that our party wants good relations with all of them and is willing to work together on development and peace process,” he said.

“We will create a stronger basis for sustainable peace...economic development and a federal republic by including all sections and communities of people,” the former insurgent leader stated.

“We will establish greater national unity with all political parties after the election," he said, in a statement signalling his commitment to work together with other political parties.

Former US president Jimmy Carter, who has been observing elections in Nepal, said that the outcome of the elections would be respected by the entire world, including the Bush administration. Though the US government continues to treat the Maoists as terrorist group, Carter said Nepal had “set an example before the world”.

The European Union congratulated the people of Nepal for their strong commitment to the democratic process.

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