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Former Maoist rebels rejoin government in Nepal, ending political crisis

Former Maoist rebels rejoin government in Nepal, ending political crisis

Four former communist rebels were sworn in as Cabinet ministers in Nepal on Monday, ending a political crisis that began when the ex-guerrillas walked out of a coalition government three-months ago.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala administered the oath of office.
"Now we will all concentrate on the election," Koirala told reporters after the ceremony.
The twice-postponed elections for a Constituent Assembly to draw up Nepal's new constitution will take place in early April, political leaders announced earlier this month.
Five members of the former rebel group, widely known as Maoists, were appointed as ministers on Sunday. Matrika Yadav, who will be Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation, was out of town and unable to attend Monday's ceremony.
The Maoists' spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara was named Minister for Communication and Information, with control of all state-run media. Dev Gurung becomes Minister for Local Development, controlling city and village councils. Hisila Yami is the Minister for Physical Planning.
Four of the five new ministers had already served in the government between April and September. Only Pampha Bhusal is new to the Cabinet, and will be the Minister for Women and Social Welfare.
With the inclusion of the new ministers, the Cabinet increased to 23.
"Our main agenda now will be to make sure elections are held on time," the Maoists' deputy leader Baburam Bhattarai said after the swearing-in ceremony.
Bhattarai said the communists would leave the government again if elections were not held by April 12, 2008 _ the end of the Nepali calendar year.
The ex-rebels agreed to rejoin the interim coalition government after the country's seven main political parties agreed last week to abolish the country's monarchy immediately after elections now scheduled for April.
The Maoists withdrew from the government on Sept. 18 demanding electoral reform and the immediate removal of the king, plunging Nepal into a political crisis and forcing the government to postpone elections initially planned for November.
The decision to abolish the centuries-old monarchy and turn Nepal into a republic was endorsed by Parliament last Friday.
The communist rebels gave up their decade-long armed revolt last year after more than 13,000 people died in the fighting against government forces.


Updated : 2021-06-19 18:31 GMT+08:00