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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 06:09 GMT
Nepal parties dismiss reshuffle
King Gyanendra
This was the third reshuffle since King Gyanendra took direct power
Nepal's opposition parties have criticised the recent reshuffle in the royal cabinet and said it had failed to address the country's problems.

The parties have warned of a fresh protest against the government for restoration of democracy in Nepal.

King Gyanendra reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday for the third time since seizing direct power in February.

The king has been at odds with the opposition and has been unable to end a Maoist rebellion.

On Wednesday, King Gyanendra dropped several key ministers, including those in charge of interior and finance, and named 18 new faces. No reason was given for the changes.

(The reshuffle) just shows that the king is not serious about defusing the situation in the country
Ram Chandra Poudel, Nepali Congress

"The reshuffle is meaningless. This will not help resolve the situation in the country," Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress, the country's largest political party, told the Associated Press.

"It just shows that the king is not serious about defusing the situation in the country," Mr Poudel said.


A spokesman of the Communist Party of Nepal, Bamdev Gautam, said the reshuffle was an extension of an "autocratic" exercise.

"This is only a continuation of the autocratic exercise. We are fighting for full democracy and these kind of minor changes will make no difference, he said.

The king plans local elections next February, and has promised parliamentary elections by April 2007.

Opposition parties say they will boycott any elections conducted by a government they call "unconstitutional".

Recently, Nepal's Maoist rebels and a coalition of seven opposition parties agreed on a programme designed to end direct rule by King Gyanendra and restore democracy.

About 12,000 people have died in Nepal's 10-year-old insurgency.

The Maoists have been fighting for the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a communist republic.

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