Nepal extends deadline on assembly selections

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Associated Press

Posted on December 17, 2013 at 3:32 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 17 at 3:36 AM

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal's Election Commission on Tuesday gave political parties another week to name members who would fill the remaining 335 proportional seats in the body that will be tasked with writing the country's constitution.

That delays the formation of the 601-seat Constituent Assembly. Nepal has only a skeletal interim constitution, and the last assembly formed after 2008 elections didn't manage to write a full constitution due to disputes between political parties on a range of issues.

In a November election, voters directly chose 240 members of the body, and 26 members will be chosen by the government. The remaining 335 seats are being allotted by the percentage of votes each party won in those elections.

The Election Commission extended the deadline in hopes the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) would name its candidates. The party of former communist rebels alleged widespread election irregularities and are demanding an independent investigation before they join the assembly.

The Maoists came third in the Nov. 19 elections after receiving the most votes in the 2008 elections.

The Maoists fought government troops until 2006 when they joined a U.N.-monitored peace process, locked away their guns and confined their fighters in camps. Under an agreement reached in the last assembly, some ex-fighters received government money to return to civilian lives and others joined the national army.

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