Nepal

Maoists invite Nepalese parties to forge anti-king alliance

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Kathmandu (dpa) - Nepal's Maoists invited seven major political parties Monday to forge an alliance against King Gyanendra, a Maoist statement issued to media said.

Maoist chief Prachanda said in a statement he had asked the seven parties to name an "authorised team'' to hold talks with his group.

He referred to Nepali Congress President and former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's call to the Maoists to "help the seven parties'' end King Gyanendra's "authoritarian rule''.

Prachanda described Koirala's call as "positive''. Koirala, on returning home from a visit to India, told newsmen that he "had telephone conversations'' with Maoist leaders in the course of his visit to India during which he asked the rebels to "give up violence and to help restore democracy''.

Prachanda in his statement said his party was ready to collaborate with all political parties that were against "authoritarianism'' in order to make the movement "powerful and united''.

Maoists have killed scores of political activists belonging to political parties since they launched the armed insurgency almost a decade ago.

In his statement, the Maoist chief said that directives issued by his party to all its cadres not to target activists of the seven party alliance "was being enforced strictly ... except (for) some accidents''.

He called upon the parties to come forward by constituting an official "negotiation team'' in order to create a "massive people's pressure'' for a democratic path in Nepal.

The seven political parties include Nepali Congress and its breakaway faction Nepali Congress (Democratic), the United Marxist Leninists and three other small communist factions as well as the pro-India Nepal Sadbhana Party.

Political analysts say that the seven parties call to Maoists for help stemmed from their inability to bring the people out in the streets in any significant numbers during their protest rallies.

Prachanda said "a strong basis of confidence could be prepared by holding dialogue with such a negotiation team by organizing serious discussions on the whole gamut of political issues''.

The major Maoist demands include a roundtable conference, interim government, and elections of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution.

The Maoists were silent on one of the major demands of seven-party alliance, the reinstatement of parliament dissolved by then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in May 2002.

In its common agenda, the seven party alliance said it was ready to stand for elections for a constituent assembly, as a way out to the present political impasse. They ruled out collaboration with the Maoists unless they abandon violence.

But despite the Maoist invitation, political analysts say that the seven parties that believe in multi-party democracy will not immediately grab the Maoist offer.

They warn that any move on the part of the seven parties to start immediate talks with the Maoists might break up the parties, specially Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress (Democratic) which in the past did not want any dealings with even moderate leftists.

In an interview published Sunday in the popular Nepali language weekly magazine Nepal, leader of the United Marxist-Leninist Party K. P. Oli said, "The Maoists are against democracy. So how can we have common cause with them.'' dpa sb ds

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