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Nepal opposition ends pro-democracy protests after king reinstates parliament

[JURIST] Opposition political parties in Nepal on Tuesday formally ended several weeks of pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] after King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] ordered the reinstatement of parliament [JURIST report] on Monday. Leaders from the seven-party opposition alliance said that they wanted Nepali Congress [party website] leader Girija Prasad Koirala, a former prime minister, to head the new government. The Nepal House of Representatives is scheduled to meet for the first time since 2002 on Friday and will name an interim government. The interim government is then expected to set a date for special elections to elect an assembly which will draft a new constitution [current text], a key demand of protesters.

In February 2005, Gyanendra seized control of the government and dismissed elected officials [JURIST report] and widespread protests began earlier this month to pressure Gyanendra to return political power to the people [JURIST report]. Gyanendra has defended his actions as necessary to contain the Maoist insurgency [BBC backgrounder], which has led to over 13,000 deaths in the past 10 years. Maoist leaders have rejected Gyanendra's concessions, but opposition political leaders say they will work to declare a cease-fire with the Maoists after a new government has been formed. AP has more. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

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