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Nepal Maoist leader to run for presidency PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 27 January 2008

Agence France-Presse . Kathmandu

Nepal's Maoists want their leader to be made president of the Himalayan country after crucial elections planned for April, a senior Maoist said on Friday. 'Vote for Prachanda to elect him as the first president of a republican Nepal,' was chosen by party leaders as one of two election slogans to be used in nationwide campaigning, CP Gajurel told the news agency.

The April 10 polls are expected to result in Nepal being declared a republic, formally ending a 239-year-old monarchy led by unpopular King Gyanendra. Since the Maoists made peace in November 2006 with the government after a brutal guerrilla war that claimed over 13,000 lives, the former rebels have emerged from their jungle and hill strongholds and come into the political mainstream.

Disagreements over Maoist demands for the abolition of the monarchy and reforms in the voting system meant that the polls have been delayed twice, and prompted allegations that the Maoists were not ready for the polls because their popularity had plummeted.

But the Maoists, whose guerrilla war lasted a decade, have started campaigning in earnest and now say they are ready to face the electorate. 'We have intensified our campaign for elections all over the country and we are confident of positive results for our party,' said Gajurel, a Maoist policy maker.

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