Nepal king announces parliament elections in April 2007

King Gyanendra announced Wednesday that Nepal would hold parliamentary elections within the next 15 month, and claimed that terrorism had decreased under his one year of direct rule over the Himalayan nation.

"All the positions held by people's representatives will be filled" by mid-April 2007, the king said in announcement over the state-run Radio Nepal and Nepal Television. The king made the address on the first anniversary of his seizure of absolute power, which has drawn heavy protest from the country's main political parties.

Elections were last held in 1999 and Nepal has been without a working parliament since it was dissolved in 2002. Plans for elections since then have been put off in part due to an insurgency by the country's Maoist rebels.

"Terrorist activities have narrowed down to just a few sporadic criminal activities," the king said in his address.

The government refers to attacks by the rebels as "terrorist activities." Although attacks by the rebels were on hold during their four-month unilateral cease-fire from Sept. 2 to Jan. 2, they have launched several attacks in the past month, reports the AP. I.L.

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