Monday, December 03, 2007

CPN (Maoist) warns of return to armed struggle

(The following report is from the capitalist press):

Sun Nov 25, 2007

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - The chief of Nepal's Maoists has warned the provisional government that his former fighters could take up arms again if their demand for an immediate end to the monarchy was not met, newspapers reported on Sunday.

The comments by Prachanda, chief of the former rebels, were his toughest yet in a dispute this year between the Maoists and the government that has centred on scrapping the monarchy.

"If the government and the other parties do not understand the ground realities, we would be forced to take up arms again," the Himalayan Times quoted Prachanda as saying.

The government wants to hold constituent assembly elections before deciding the monarchy's future, part of a peace accord with the former rebels agreed last year that ended a decade-long conflict that killed more than 13,000 people.

The Maoists want the monarchy scrapped immediately. The impasse led them to quit the interim government two months ago and to indefinitely delay the constituent assembly elections that had been due on Nov. 22.

Maoists and government are due to meet to discuss the issue which is expected to dominate a parliamentary sitting resuming on Thursday. The former rebels are also demanding full proportional representation in any elections.

"We will get our party's demands for a republic and a proportional electoral system fulfilled at any cost," the Kathmandu Post daily quoted Prachanda, 52, as saying.

Prachanda, whose nom de guerre roughly translates as "fierce" or "terrible", said his party still favoured talks to achieve its demands but would fight for another 40 years if necessary.

Prachanda made the comments to a rally on Saturday in Chitwan, about 80 km south of Kathmandu. Chitwan is the site of one of the 28 camps set up to house thousands of former Maoist fighters under last year's peace deal.

The Maoists have regularly threatened to launch street protests in the past but have yet to do so.

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