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Nepal king to revive Parliament; Calls SPA for talks

By Sheela Bhatt in Kathmandu
Last updated on: April 25, 2006 01:18 IST
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Yielding to unrelenting pressure from pro-democracy movement, King Gyanendra of Nepal on late Monday evening met a key demand of the Seven-Party Alliance by announcing that Parliament, which he had dissolved in 2002,
would be revived. 

Complete Coverage: Crisis in the Hmalayan kingdom

The SPA had demanded revival of Parliament, setting up of a constituent assembly and for the King to give up not only executive power but also the state power which gives him control of the army.

The embattled monarch said in a televised address to the nation that he was reviving Parliament in order to resolve the present political crisis, including resolution to the ten-year old armed conflict as per the road map presented by the Seven Party Alliance.

Nepal: A people's movement grows with fury

Parliament had been dissolved by the King on May 22, 2002 at the recommendation of then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

The Seven Party Alliance had earlier said that through reinstatement of Parliament it will form an all-party governemnt and call the Maoists for dialogue and hold constituent assembly election to find a political solution to the ongoing crisis.

The King also accepted the roadmap of the SPA to restore democracy and peace. He expressed condolence for those who lost their lives in the nearly three-week pro-democracy agitation and wished speedy recovery of those who sustained injuries.

King Gyanendra said Nepalese people were the source of sovereign power and the state authority also rests on them.

"We declare the reinstatement of the House of Representatives," the King said, adding the move would take effect from Friday.

"We are confident the nation will forge ahead toward sustainable peace, progress, full-fledged democracy and national unity," he said in his brief address to the nation.

King Gyanendra, who had seized absolute power after dismissing the government in February last year, said, "We call upon the seven-party (opposition) alliance to bear the responsibility of taking the nation on the path of national unity and prosperity while ensuring permanent peace and safe-guarding multi-party democracy."

This was the second time in four days that the monarch appeared on television to address the nation against the backdrop of escalated protests by pro-democracy activists.

The king has been hesitant to take such a step because once Parliament is revived, people will force it to announce elections to the Constituent Assembly. 

He obviously, did not want to give in or invite anyone to issue a death warrant to the monarchy.

His decision comes ahead of the proposed SPA demonstration on Tuesday at seven different points along the ring road in Kathmandu, which would be led by the leaders like Nepal Congress chairman Girija Prasad Koirala, Communist party leader Madhav Nepal and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress (Democratic).

Tuesday's demonstrations were expected to be a kind of the final message to the King to agree to people's wish.

Meanwhile, welcoming King Gyanendra's, Communist Party of Nepal (UML) leader Rajan Bhattarai said the first task of the House of Representatives would be to declare elections to the Constituent Assembly.

"The first task of the reinstated Parliament, when it meets on Friday, would be to declare elections to the Constituent Assembly," Bhattarai told CNN-IBN.

Asked about the future of monarchy, he said that it would be the decision of the people of Nepal.

"Whatever decision of the Constituent Assembly will have to be abided by the monarch," he said.

With PTI inputs

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Sheela Bhatt in Kathmandu