Just hours after being sworn in, the Nepalese prime minister has invited Maoist rebels to peace talks.
King Gyandendra administered the oath of office to his long-time political opponent Girija Prasad Koirala, who has been prime minister several timesbefore. Koirala’s first initiative – calling elections for a special assembly to rewrite the constitution – has already been approved by parliament. The prime minister used his first speech to call on Maoists to stop violence and start talks. They declared a three month ceasefire after the king gave in to pro-democracy demonstrators and reinstated the parliament. The rebels have been fighting their insurgency for ten years but now look ready to go mainstream. It is thought they want to participate in rewriting the constitution because it gives them the chance to push forward one of their primary aims – abolishing the monarchy. Koirala should set an election date after talks with the rebels.