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Nepal deadlock ends, Maoists to rejoin government

By Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
December 24, 2007 08:34 IST
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Ending a three-month deadlock, Nepal's seven parties on Sunday night signed a 22-point deal under which the Maoists will rejoin the government and the country will be declared a federal democratic republic through the parliament, subject to ratification by the first meting of the constituent assembly.

In a move apparently aimed at appeasing the Maoists, who walked out of the government in September, the parties also agreed that if the king is found conspiring against the constituent assembly elections, the interim Parliament can abolish monarchy by passing a resolution with two-thirds majority.

The agreement provides a 58-42 allocation for proportional and direct election systems for the 601-seat constituent assembly, Nepali Congress general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi said.

While there will be direct election for 240 seats, 335 others will fall under the proportional system. 26 members will be nominated by the prime minister.

The parties had earlier agreed that the crucial constituent assembly elections, which have been put off twice, will be held by mid April 2008.

Under the agreement, Maoists, who quit the government to press their demand for declaring Nepal a republic before the constituent assembly elections and a fully proportional electoral system, will rejoin the government.

The former rebels, who signed a peace pact to end their decade-long armed struggle last year, agreed to return all land and other properties captured by their cadres.

The government has also pledged to form a commission to trace the persons, mostly Maoists, who went missing during the violence.

A co-ordination committee comprising top leaders of all main parties with a rotating chair will be formed, Nidhi, said.

The date for the constituent assembly elections will be decided by the cabinet, the Nepali Congress leader said.

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Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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