Nepal opposition calls off protests

Nepal's opposition alliance on Tuesday formally called off weeks of pro-democracy protests after the king gave in to a key demand to reinstate Parliament, and said it would work closely with the country's communist insurgents.

The seven-party alliance, which will take the lead when Parliament is reconvened in the coming days, also said it planned to declare a cease-fire with the Maoist guerrillas once a new government is formed.

"We will work together with the Maoists," Krishna Sitaula, a top official with the Nepali Congress and a spokesman for the alliance, said after emerging from closed-door discussions among party leaders.

The leaders also formally called off the protests and general strike that had nearly paralyzed life in Nepal for weeks, but said a planned demonstration Tuesday would go ahead as a "victory rally." He urged demonstrators to remain peaceful.

King Gyanendra, under immense pressure from protesters and foreign governments, on Monday ordered the Parliament reinstated.

Its main agenda will be to hold an election for a special assembly to rewrite the country's constitution, Sitaula said, a move that would almost certainly reduce the power of the king, or even eliminate the monarchy, reports the AP.


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