Under sustained pressure from mainstream political parties and Maoists to restore democracy, Nepal's King Gyanendra on Thursday night called for general elections.
"It is our desire that with the active participation of all political parties committed to peace and democracy, a meaningful exercise in multi-party democracy be initiated through an exemplary democratic exercise like the general elections," the king said in his Nepali new year broadcast.
The King said that general elections are the best way to exercise multi-party democracy in a meaningful way. In a short statement broadcast on Nepal Television, he asked political parties to resolve all issues through dialogue, saying, "The process of dialogue is always open to activate multi-party democracy system."
Gyanendra reiterated a call to political parties to "...bear responsibility of - and contribute to - activating the multi-party democratic polity."
His call for general elections came as the opposition's general strike entered the eight day on Thursday.