Key Nepal election rescheduled for early April

February 28th, 2008 - 4:58 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, Jan 11 (DPA) The Nepalese government Friday fixed April 10 as the date for a key election to choose a constituent assembly that will rewrite the country’s new constitution and ratify parliament’s decision to abolish the monarchy. “The decision of the cabinet is in line with the decision of the top leaders that includes Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the Maoist Chairman Prachanda to hold the elections by mid-April,” Minister for Information Krishna Bahadur Mahara said following the cabinet decision Friday.

“The government has also decided to implement some measures that would ensure the elections are held on schedule,” Mahara said.

He was referring to various groups in southern Nepal that have threatened to disrupt elections if their demands, including the declaration of an autonomous region with the right to self determination, are not granted by the government.

“The government has decided to appoint first class officers in the civil service from the ethnic Madhesi community as chief district officers in 22 Terai districts,” Mahara said.

Curtailing trouble and improving the law and order situation in the southern Nepalese plains known as Terai are seen as crucial for holding the election.

Terai is a fertile strip of land bordering India that produces much of the country’s agricultural output. Nearly half of Nepal’s 28 million people live in the region.

Constituent assembly elections were originally scheduled for mid-June last year but were postponed to mid-July and then to Nov 22, with the government citing lack of time for preparation.

However, with the Maoists walking out of the government in September over differences with coalition members on the immediate abolition of the monarchy, the government once again postponed the election indefinitely.

The election of the constituent assembly is a key component of the peace agreement signed between the government and the Maoists in November 2008.

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