Royalists seek fresh election in NepalApril 26th, 2011 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, April 26 (IANS) Nepal’s only royalist party Tuesday fired a salvo at the struggling government, warning it would not allow the deadline for framing the new constitution to be extended a second time and called for fresh elections.
The Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-Nepal), led by former minister Kamal Thapa, also said it would start a protest campaign from Friday, warning Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal not to try to extend the deadline for drafting the new constitution, which expires 31 days later.
Thapa, who was made home minister after Nepal’s last king Gyanendra grabbed power through a bloodless coup in 2005 and triggered nationwide protests that led to the abolition of monarchy in the world’s only Hindu kingdom, said any effort to extend the May 28 deadline would see his party begin a retaliatory movement.
“We regard the repeated attempts to extend the deadline as an attack on people’s rights and democracy,” Thapa said.
After King Gyanendra’s ouster in 2006, Nepal held a historical election two years later to choose a constituent assembly that was given the mandate of drafting a new constitution by May 28, 2010.
However, as the major parties remained deadlocked in a never-ending tussle for power, the 601-member house could not complete its task last year and narrowly averted an unprecedented constitutional crisis by amending the interim constitution and extending its tenure by another year.
Now with the extended deadline coming close, the parties remain locked in the same disputes and the constitution is still far from ready.
The ruling parties - the communists and their ally, the Maoists - are reportedly planning to extend the deadline yet again or produce a mini constitution by May 28.
The prime minister has indicated the possibility of such an extension by saying at public programmes this month that the constituent assembly will not be dissolved till it completes its task.
Tacitly referring to that, Thapa said if the house fails to complete its task by May 28, it has to be dissolved. A new election should then be held to choose its successor.
The royalists, who are seeking restoration of monarchy and Hinduism as the state religion, feel misgovernance by the parties since the formal abolition of monarchy in 2008 has made a large number of people sympathetic towards monarchy. Fresh elections would lead to the return of the deposed king.
It has been seeking a referendum on reinstating the crown and begun a signature campaign that was ignored by the ruling parties.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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