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Nepal's June Election Date in Doubt

Nepal's election commissioner is casting doubt on the feasibility of the Himalayan kingdom conducting elections in June. Less than a week ago, the country's prime minister and leaders of other political parties pledged to hold elections on June 20. VOA's Steve Herman reports from New Delhi.

Less than a week after a new interim government was formed in Nepal, doubts are growing that the country will be able to hold elections soon, as has been promised.

Nepal's chief election commissioner on Friday said security remains a concern, especially in the southern part of the country where there have been recent violent protests. Bhojraj Pokhrel says that and technical delays will make it difficult to quickly organize a national election.

Prominent social activist Satya Narayan Shah agrees with that assessment.

"The peace should prevail in the society. The people must feel that it is safe to cast their vote," said Shah. "So that environment has to be created first."

Shah says elections are likely to be held no earlier than October, after the monsoon season.

Nepal's parliament on Sunday approved an interim government that for the first time includes the Maoists, who waged a decade-long insurgency against Nepal's monarchy. They ended their revolt last year and pledged to peacefully participate in the democratic process, sending their fighters and weapons to camps monitored by the United Nations.

The elections are to select a legislative assembly that will be tasked with re-writing the constitution and determining the fate of Nepal's unpopular monarchy. The government had said they would be held June 20.