• Protests threat mars Nepal parliament debut

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    KATHMANDU: Nepal’s former ruling Maoists threatened to embark on a wave of street protests on Wednesday as the newly-elected parliament convened for the first time to begin work on drawing up a post-war constitution.

    Party leaders have set themselves a 12-month deadline to reach a consensus on a draft constitution, promising to overcome their outstanding differences eight years after the end of a decade-long civil war.

    But a senior member of the Maoists, which suffered a humiliating defeat on November 19 general election, warned his party’s resolve should not be underestimated despite its reduced presence in the constituent assembly, which doubles up as a parliament.

    “We will have to be vigilant and may resort to street protests to ensure that our agendas are addressed by the constituent assembly,” said Ganesh Man Pun ahead of the formal opening ceremony.

    The Maoists only reluctantly agreed to take part in the assembly after initially threatening to boycott it over accusations of electoral fraud.

    They were soundly beaten by both the first-placed Nepali Congress and the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) parties who are still locked in negotiations about forming a new coalition government.

    AFP

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