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Nepal Maoist rebels press for progress towards new constitution

[JURIST] Nearly 200,000 people rallied in Kathmandu outside the palace of King Gyanendra [official profile] Friday in a protest organized by Nepal's Maoist rebel insurgency [BBC profile] to pressure the new government into speeding up plans to elect a special assembly to draft a new Nepal constitution. Krishna Bahadur Mahara [eKantipur.com interview], the Maoist negotiator with the recently reinstated parliament, told the crowd that the Maoist rebels should be included in the election preparations, and repeated a call for the enactment of an interim constitution [JURIST report] before a formal text is drafted and approved.

Gyanendra sacked the government and parliament [JURIST report] in February 2005, but relinquished direct rule over Nepal after 19 days of mass protests [JURIST news archive] and reinstated parliament [JURIST report] in April. The new parliament has voted to hold elections for a constituent assembly [JURIST report] to re-write the current constitution [text]. The reinstated parliament has also stripped the King all of the powers and privileges [JURIST report] he once held. Reuters has more. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

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