04/14/2008, 00.00
NEPAL
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‘Maoist Republic’ on its way

by Kalpit Parajuli
The Elections Commission confirms Maoist party’s landslide victory. Its leaders call upon the international community to trust them as they get ready to abolish the monarchy.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Against all expectations the Communist Party Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) is heading for a landslide win and will likely to lead the country’s first republican government. CPN-M leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal (see photo), known under his nom de guerre Prachanda (the terrible), said that Nepal was ready to be a “Maoist Republic.”

So far the Elections Commission has announced that the Maoists have won 61 seats out of the 108 already decided, but the counting process in other polling stations indicates a similar trend in favour of the ‘Reds’.

Given the situation Prachanda acknowledged that the “international community may have some doubts about us. But we are committed to competitive politics and will maintain cordial relations with all, especially with our close neighbours China and India”.

Baburam Bhattarai, the CMN-M second-in-command, added that “[e]verybody must accept that we, being the largest political party, have the right to lead the government.” He also said his party won because it “targeted the underprivileged, marginalised section of society, including women. We empowered those groups of society and were successful to secure such results.” For him the first item on the new government’s agenda will be the monarchy.

The Crown’s hold on the country began collapsing in 1996 when its corruption and wealth in one of the poorest countries in Asia sparked the Communist rebellion in which some 13,000 people died over ten years.

In 2001 then King Birendra and the members of his immediate family were slaughtered in the Royal Palace at the hands of his son, who then committed suicide.

His successor Gyanendra (whom some believe inspired the massacre) intensified efforts to gain absolute power. He succeed in 2005, only to lose it a year later as a result of street protests, which forced him to negotiate with the Maoists.

With the new government his role will be eliminated and the 238-year-old monarchy will come to an end.

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