The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Deuba sacked, polls put off
- Nepal king assumes executive powers, govt removed

Kathmandu, Oct. 4 (Reuters): Nepal’s King Gyanendra today sacked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, abolished his council of ministers and indefinitely put off national elections that were set for November.

The king, in a nationally televised address, said he was assuming executive powers “for the time being”.

He called on political parties to suggest people to form a new interim government to run the Himalayan country until elections were eventually held.

“We have released Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who has been incapable to conduct elections as scheduled earlier, from his post,” Gyanendra said in the local Nepali language. “The council of ministers has been abolished. The elections set for November 13 have been put off.” The king’s move followed a recommendation by Deuba’s Cabinet yesterday to delay elections by a year due to mounting Maoist violence that has killed more than 5,000 people, mostly guerrillas, in a six-year revolt. More than 3,000 people have been killed since peace talks broke down last November.

The Maoists have been waging an increasingly deadly battle to overthrow the constitutional monarchy and install a communist republic in Nepal.

Deuba dissolved the parliament in May and ordered elections for November, 18 months ahead of schedule, amid a row over the extension of a state of emergency giving sweeping powers to soldiers to crush the revolt.

According to the Nepal Constitution, the king can intervene whenever there is a constitutional crisis in the country.

Gyanendra now has two options in front of him. He can either appoint a Prime Minister of a national government or recall the old parliament and ask it to elect a Prime Minister.

There are three possible candidates for the Prime Minister’s post. From the democratic tradition the likely candidate is G. P. Koirala who does not get along with the king.

The other two candidates, Lokendra Bahadur Chand and Surya Bahadur Thapa, are from the non-democratic tradition.

India has made it clear that it would not like to meddle in Nepal’s internal affairs. However, it would prefer a Prime Minister from the democratic tradition.

Maoist rebels fighting for one-party communist rule in the world’s only Hindu kingdom have said they would derail the elections and had announced a three-day nationwide shutdown during the first round of voting in November.

The Election Commission said last week voting would be held over six phases and two months so security forces could move across the mountainous country to protect voters and candidates.

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