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Ban Ki-moon disappointed by delay to Nepalese elections

Ban Ki-moon disappointed by delay to Nepalese elections

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced disappointment at the decision of Nepal’s interim Government to postpone Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for next month, stressing that the people of the Himalayan country deserve their opportunity to express their political aspirations.

In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban strongly urged the Seven-Party Alliance which comprises the interim coalition Government “to redouble efforts so that outstanding issues can be expeditiously resolved and the election held very soon.”

On Monday, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan had told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate that the Government had been engaged in dialogue with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) to ensure that the polls would be held on schedule on 22 November.

But media reports today say the elections were delayed because of ongoing disputes between the Seven-Party Alliance and the Maoists.

The elections had already been postponed from June because of technical problems and then the onset of the monsoon season.

Once elected, the Constituent Assembly will draft a new constitution for Nepal, where an estimated 13,000 people were killed during the decade-long civil conflict that came to a formal end when the Government and the Maoists signed a peace accord late last year.

Mr. Ban’s statement noted that “the people of Nepal have demonstrated their desire for peace and the stakes are too high to allow manageable differences to deny their aspirations.”

He added that the UN remained committed to assisting to establish a durable peace in Nepal. A UN mission (known as UNMIN) is in place to help shepherd the country through the post-conflict transition process.