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Nepal’s Maoist parties join hands after poll defeat


KATHMANDU (AFP): Nepal’s former rebel Maoists said today they would join hands with a hardline splinter group, in a bid to bolster their strength after a humiliating loss in elections.

The Maoists, who swept Nepal’s first post-war polls in 2008, slumped to third place in last November’s constituent assembly polls, which were boycotted by the breakaway Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M).

The former guerrillas said they had since struck an alliance with the CPN-M to oppose reported plans by the new coalition government to hold long-delayed local elections before writing a draft constitution.

“Holding local elections immediately will delay the constitution-building process,” the new alliance said in a statement.

Analysts said the alliance would give the Maoists better bargaining power in the new constituent assembly, where they currently occupy just 80 of 575 elected seats.

“The Maoists’ move is aimed at regaining lost ground after the poor election results,” said Guna Raj Luitel, chief editor of The Annapurna Post.

“They will now have a louder voice in the assembly, even though they have few seats, which will result in a more representative constitution,” Luitel told AFP.

The former Hindu kingdom became a secular republic in 2006 following a ten-year civil war, which left more than 16,000 dead.

“We will be compelled to go on a joint protest against the government if they don’t take our concerns seriously,” the statement said.

Since Nepal held its first post-war elections, five prime ministers have served brief terms in as many years.

The country has had no leader for long periods and the constituent assembly has been perpetually deadlocked over plans to draft a constitution.

The Maoists dominated the first assembly, which also served as a parliament before it collapsed in May 2012.

The CPN-M broke away from the main party a month later, accusing its leaders of betraying their original radical principles.

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For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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