Nepal Maoists may boycott government if they lose presidential poll

July 21st, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, July 21 (IANS) Nepal’s historic first presidential election has stirred up a hornets’ nest with the hawks in the Maoist party vowing to boycott the new government if their candidate loses Monday’s run-off. “If our presidential candidate loses, we will not join the government,” warned veteran Maoist leader and lawmaker Mohan Vaidya, known during the 10-year guerrilla war as “Kiran”.

The guerrilla leader, who had been arrested and jailed in India during the “People’s War”, also said that even a victory for Maoist candidate Ram Raja Prasad Singh, a 73-year-old former revolutionary who had reportedly taught Maoist combatants how to make bombs at the beginning of their uprising, may not lead to a Maoist-led government.

“With the constitution having been amended, any party that can show a simple majority in the assembly can form the government,” Vaidya said.

Last week, as the presidential poll set the Maoists and the other top parties at loggerheads, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress (NC) and its new ally, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), announced they would not join a Maoist-headed government.

Though the April election saw the Maoists emerge as the largest party and poised to form the new government, the presidential election has triggered new equations and could also lead to a bid by the anti-Maoist bloc to form the new government.

However, there could be fresh twists during the presidential run-off Monday.

AS lawmakers began voting in the morning to resolve the impasse, UML chief Jhalanath Khanal said in a surprise announcement that the Maoists had reached a secret understanding to support Koirala’s candidate Ram Baran Yadav.

However, the statement was dismissed as unfounded by senior Maoist leaders.

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