Posted online: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 0000 hrs
Nepal: Rebel negotiator also wants Parliament dissolved, polls held KATHMANDU, May 23
The Chief Maoist negotiator for peace talks with the Nepal government on Tuesday urged the constitution be thrown out, Parliament dissolved and an interim government including the rebels formed before elections are held to map the nation’s future. ‘‘We are going to have a new Constitution. But how can you have that without abrogating the old one?’’ asked Krishna Bahadur Mahara two days after arriving here to lead a three-member team in talks with a caretaker government. The talks are to pave the way for a meeting between reclusive Maoist chief Prachanda and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, appointed to head a multi-party government after violent protests forced King Gyanendra to give up power. Mahara said a ‘‘national political conference’’ attended by all political parties including the rebels and the civil society should form an interim government to hold a planned election for a special assembly to decide the future political set up of the Himalayan nation and draft a new constitution. ‘‘Parliament should be dissolved permanently and the Constituent Assembly should be in place as soon as possible,’’ said Mahara. ‘‘We want this to happen in six months if possible.’’ Mahara said the rebels were prepared to place their weapons under the supervision of the United Nations or any other ‘‘credible’’ international organisation only if the Army did too. He also said ‘‘King Gyanendra is still in a position to conspire. The belief that the government proclamation (stripping the King of his powers) has made him completely powerless is untrue. Only changing the appearance of the King and the Army is not enough, the basic things are not changed.’’ Mahara, however, welcomed the proclamation. ‘‘We welcome Parliament’s declaration that sliced the King’s powers and converted Nepal into a secular state.’’ On the peace talks, Mahara said the rebels would like to initiate a dialogue with the government at the earliest. ‘‘We are not in a position to make the process of dialogue lengthy, it should conclude early,’’ Mahara told the Kantipur Daily. ‘‘The talks should start soon,’’ Mahara said, demanding early release of their cadre and making public the status of those made disappeared by the government forces.