Mon, May 08, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Maoist rebels want new constitution

AP AND AFP , KATHMANDU

Nepal's communist rebels are demanding an interim constitution be enacted immediately, even before a special assembly is elected to rewrite a new charter, a news report said yesterday.

"There should be an interim constitution and an interim government," Maoist rebel leader Prachanda was quoted as saying by Nepal magazine.

The rebels joined forces with a seven-party alliance in playing a key role in the demonstrations that forced King Gyanendra to yield control of the government and restore democracy on April 24.

Since then, the alliance has formed a government, which is gearing up for peace talks with the rebels in an attempt to end the more than decade-old insurgency.

The parties in the government and the rebels both agree there should be elections for a constituent assembly that would rewrite the Constitution, but appear to have differences in how to do it.

The rebels want an interim constitution immediately, but the alliance is happy to just make minor changes in the existing charter until a new one is written by the constituent assembly.

"We have not made any official decision on the issue but we are in agreement that it would be fine just to remove some clauses from the existing Constitution," said Gopal Man Singh, minister for physical planning and works.

The rebels, who appear to be headed for a role in the political mainstream, have made it clear they have differences with the new government despite their partnership in bringing down the royal regime.

"There are some differences in the process between the seven-party alliance and us which should have been resolved through dialogue," Prachanda said.

He said that instead of resolving the differences, the parties opted for the reinstatement of parliament.

Meanwhile, the government decided yesterday to scrap all royal appointments made by the king.

"The Cabinet meeting [yesterday] decided to revoke all the appointments made by the king during his absolute rule since October 2002," Minister of Finance Ram Sharan Mahat said.

"The Cabinet has also decided to recall 12 ambassadors appointed by the king during his regime," Mahat said.

Ambassadors recalled include those of Britain, China, France, India, Japan and the US.

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