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«We will form coalition government»

Interview with Baburam Bhattarai

Sunday 13 April 2008, by Ameet Dhakal

The Maoists’ second-in-command, Babu Ram Bhattarai, who may well become Nepal’s next Prime Minister, said his party would form a coalition government even if it won the majority in the elections to the Constituent Assembly.

"We want to move ahead during this transition based on political consensus but Maoists should clearly be in the leadership of the future coalition since that is the people’s mandate," he said in an Hindu. Though the Maoists have proposed exclusive interview to The an executive presidential model in their election manifesto, Mr. Bhattarai said: "Since we have to function under the interim constitution till there is a new constitution we may settle for [the] present prime ministerial model during this transition."

Mr. Bhattarai interpreted the election result as the people’s mandate for change. "People were clamouring for a change in the country, but the old parties wanted to continue the status quo, so they [thepeople] have voted us to lead this change." He also said the people voted for the Maoists because they were convinced that only Maoists could bring lasting peace and development.

Explaining the party’s future political agenda, he said: "End of feudalism and establishment of federal democratic republic with regional autonomy is our main political goal."

On the economic front, Mr. Bhattrai said, "We will work for the end of corruption, poverty, unemployment and rapid economic growth with national industrialistion"

Mr. Bhattarai said his party was totally committed to the "general principles" of democracy. "No one can reject fundamental human rights and rule of law." But he said his party was in favor of "real democracy" and not the "formal democracy." He also argued that his party was of the opinion that the parliamentary model of democracy did not suit Nepal and the country should look for some other form of competitive democracy.

On his party’s foreign policy, he said, "We want to maintain a friendly relationship with all the countries, especially with the country’s two big neighbours — India and China." (The Hindu)