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Maoists pull out of Nepal cabinet

From our Correspondent in Katmandu

(June 13, Katmandu, Sri Lanka Guardian) Maoist ministers in Nepal's interim government on Thursday resigned en masse in a bid to pressure Premier G P Koirala to quit and allow formation of a new administration.

While, former rebels warned ousted King Gyanendra to stay away from politics a day after he surrendered crown to lead life as a commoner.
All the five Maoist ministers in the ruling alliance tendered their resignations to party chief Prachanda, Maoist leader and Local Development Minister Dev Gurung said.

According to political analysts, it was a pressure tactic by the former guerrillas so that the process of the government formation could be initiated.

Maoists had emerged as the single largest party in the landmark April 10 polls for the 601-strong Constituent Assembly bagging 220 seats followed by Nepali Congress of Koirala and CPN-UML which secured 110 and 103 seats respectively.

They have agreed to other major parties' demands to amend the Constitution and give up their claim on the post of the President in order to lead the new government.

Maoist second-in-command Baburam Bhattarai, meanwhile, said the former King "should not disturb the development of the republic, and refrain from engaging in counter-revolutionary activities."

"We don't want him to be used as a weapon for counter-revolutionary forces in this transitional and sensitive period," he told reporters.

In an emotion-charged speech before vacating the Narayanhiti palace last night, Gayanendra said that he had accepted the Constituent Assembly's decision to declare the country a republic and abolish the 240-year-old monarchy.

Bhattarai also said new government will go for a fresh probe into the 2001 palace massacre and investigate whether the deposed King had any foreign bank account.

"After the formation of the Maoist-led government a probe commission will be formed to investigate into the palace massacre as the Nepalese people want an independent body to enquire about the incident," Bhattarai said.

The entire family of former King Birendra was killed in mysterious circumstances in the massacre after which Gyanendra became the monarch.

"The former king said in his statement on Wednesday that he had no role in the massacre and if it was true, the probe commission will help him clear the accusation," the Maoist second-in-command said.

Bhattarai also said the new government will probe whether the deposed king has any foreign bank account.

Nepal government on Thursday took control of the sprawling Narayanhiti palace situated in the heart of Kathmandu along with valuables including a diamond-studded crown.

The former King left for Nagarjun forest bungalow last night, a day before the expiry of the 15-day deadline set by the newly-elected Maoists-dominated Constituent Assembly for him to vacate the palace.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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