Friday, April 28, 2006

Nepal parliament reconvenes after four years

The Nepal parliament, or at least one accepted by the majority of the people, reconvened today in Katmandu.

Ministers promised to hold elections aimed at cutting the power of the monarchy after King Gyanendra toppled the government in 2002.

Gyanendra claimed that the sitting parliament was unable to deal with the Maoist insurgency at the time, and has held autocratic power for the last four years. The king tried to deflect opposition by holding elections in which his hand-picked candidates always won.

If anything, the Maoist attacks only increased during the king's reign at the top.

The new Parliament leader Girija Prasad Koirala, 84, did not attend the session due to a bout with bronchitis.

Maoist rebels, apparently satisfied with the new situation, declared a three-month ceasefire Thursday.

With the protests over and the new ceasefire, the important tourism industry may begin to return to normal. The Himalayan nation is a magnet to trekkers and mountain climbers boasting the highest peaks in the world.

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