Nepal government sets timetable for democratic elections Chris Buell at 8:51 AM ET
[JURIST] After months of absolute rule by King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC News profile], Nepal [JURIST news archive] will move forward with local elections by April 2006 and national elections within two years, Nepalese Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey told the UN General Assembly [official website] on Wednesday. The announcement was the first clear signal by Nepal's government as to when it plans to hold elections that it has promised for months in the face of continuing pro-democracy protests [JURIST report]. In his address, Pandey said, "the King's commitment to multiparty democracy is unflinching and total." The elections announcement comes shortly after Maoist rebels announced a unilateral cease-fire that suggested peace talks could follow. Years of conflict involving the rebels led Gyanendra to sack the elected government and seize power in February [JURIST report]. A UN human rights investigator recently condemned the human rights record [JURIST report] of Nepal, citing rampant violations by both the government and rebel forces. The UN has Pandey's complete statement [PDF text] before the General Assembly. AP has more.
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