Nepalese accord with ethnic Madhesis will help planned elections, says UN envoy

28 February 2008
Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Nepal

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Nepal has welcomed today’s agreement between the seven-party alliance that forms the country’s Government and the leadership of the ethnic Madhesi movement from the southern plains.

“Its implementation will be an important contribution to the election of an inclusive Government Assembly in a conducive climate,” Ian Martin said in a statement to the press in Kathmandu, the capital, after the agreement was signed by the Government and the United Democratic Madhesi Front.

The accord meets the key demands of the Madhesi movement and calls an immediate end to their 16-day shutdown, or general strike, in Nepal’s southern plains region, which has seen a number of deaths and scores of injuries and crippled supplies to Kathmandu.

The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) also said that under today’s eight-point deal, quotas for party lists will be relaxed, which will allow for an increase in Madhesi candidates in many lists for seats to be elected through proportional representation.

Elections for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly are now scheduled to be held on 10 April, after being postponed twice last year.

Once elected, Assembly members are supposed to draft a new constitution for Nepal, where an estimated 13,000 people were killed during the decade-long civil war that ended when the Government and the Maoists signed a peace accord in 2006.

 

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