03/28/2008, 00.00
NEPAL
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Repeated Maoist attacks threaten elections in Nepal

by Kalpit Parajuli
As the 10 April elections to the constituent assembly approach, Maoist attacks against opposition parties increase.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Acts of violence and intimidation by Maoists against other parties are seriously jeopardising the elections to the Constituent Assembly. Armed clashes and not so peaceful demonstrations are spreading fear in the population after Maoist party leaders said they could not guarantee peace if they lost the 10 April elections.

The latest attacks involved at least 15 Nepali Congress Party`s cadres, some of whom were seriously injured last night in the Dhading district, some 80 kilometres south-east of Kathmandu

Although the Nepali Congress Party pointed the finger at Maoists, the latter denied any responsibility, claiming instead that some gang might have attacked using the Maoists’ name.

In the last few months members of the Nepali Congress Party as well as the Communist Party Nepal-UML have become victims of violent actions by Maoists; homes have been vandalised and individuals have been threatened for participating in the election campaign.

“Maoist atrocities have crossed the limit. This election cannot be free and fair until strong action against them is taken,” said Nepali Congress district president in Kapilvastu. “How can election be held if all the parties can't go among people for the vote?”

At an election rally in Rajbirajha yesterday Maoist chairman Prachanda said that the elections might be further postponed (it would be the fourth time), claiming that there was a conspiracy involving royalists and foreign powers to manipulate election results against his party.

“I am not confident the constituent assembly election will be held on the stipulated date if the situation continues,” he said

The United Nations urge all parties to stop clashing and create instead a climate favourable to the vote.

“We will surely take action against those parties violating election code of conduct. We can also cancel candidacies if they continue such violations,” Election Commissioner Nilakantha Upreti told AsiaNews. “This election is more important since it is to the constituent assembly. For this reason we shall be cautious in our decisions; otherwise we would have already taken serious actions.

 

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