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Nepal's Prime Minister, Maoist Leader Fail to Break Deadlock


Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the leader of the Maoist former rebels have failed to break a political deadlock that threatens upcoming national elections.

Mr. Koirala met Thursday with the Maoist leader, Prachanda, to persuade the former rebels to rejoin the interim government and allow November 22nd elections to be held on schedule.

The two leaders did not reach an agreement. But their meeting was followed by talks among the leaders of seven Nepalese political parties on a possible reconciliation between the Maoists and the interim government.

The Maoists, who fought a decade-long battle against Nepal's monarchy, left the ruling coalition government last week. They are demanding that Nepal's centuries-old monarchy be immediately abolished.

On Wednesday, the country's largest political party, the Nepali Congress, passed a resolution urging an end to the two centuries of rule by the Shah dynasty, turning Nepal into a federal democratic republic.

The party says the move should be taken after the November 22nd balloting, which is due to select an assembly that will draft a constitution and decide the fate of the monarchy.

The Maoists are threatening to disrupt November elections if other political parties in the interim government do not bow to their demand for the immediate dethronement of the king.

King Gyanendra is already a figurehead, stripped of all real power, and most of the royal assets have been seized by the state.

The Maoists signed a peace treaty with the government last year, ending a decade-long insurgency that claimed 13-thousand lives. The settlement followed mass protests that forced the king to end an unpopular dictatorship.

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