U.N. tells Nepal parties to stop intimidation

22/03/2008 - 14:51

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - The United Nations urged Nepal's political parties and its former Maoist rebels on Saturday to stop intimidating voters ahead of next month's national elections.

Nepalis vote on April 10 for a constituent assembly thatwill prepare a new constitution, the centrepiece of a 2006peace deal to end a bloody civil war with the Maoists.

At least two people have died and dozens have been injuredin election-related violence.

Leading Nepali political parties say the Maoists arepreventing their leaders from campaigning in the countrysidewhere they are thought to have a strong presence.

"The CPN-M must end the practice of preventing otherparties from campaigning in areas where it is strong or whichit considers its natural political territory," the UnitedNations Mission in Nepal said in a report, referring to theex-guerrilla group known as Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Calling on all political parties to abide by the electioncode of conduct, the report said results of a flawed electionwould not command legitimacy.

"Intimidation and pressure on voters to vote for or againsta party should cease."

Analysts say the violence could threaten the credibility ofthe election, Nepal's first in nearly nine years and whichPrime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala described as a matter ofnational prestige.

"If we can't hold the election we will lose our image amongthe international community," the 83-year-old Koirala toldreporters.

The main political parties, including Koirala's NepaliCongress party, have decided time is up for the country's240-year-old Hindu monarchy, turning the Himalayan nation intoa federal republic after the twice-delayed election.

"The country is about to take a significant turn in itshistory and the election holds the key to that," Koirala said.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)

Otras noticias

Contenido patrocinado