Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 12:23 UK

Nepal 'boosts global communism'

By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu

Prachanda, 3 May 2008
Prachanda says his Maoists do not believe in a one-party state

The leader of Nepal's Maoists has said that his party's recent election victory is a sign of the global resurgence of communism.

But Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, stressed his party believed in retaining multi-party competition.

Prachanda has made it clear that he wants to become the first president of a Nepalese republic.

The Maoists won twice as many seats as their nearest rivals in last month's polls for a constitutional assembly.

Investment priorities

Prachanda's comments are a reminder of the extraordinary way in which Nepal has contradicted the world's move away from communism in the past 20 years.

The leader of the former rebels told the AFP news agency that the Maoists' big poll victory signalled a wave of revolution in developing countries, which he said would spread to the developed world.

But Prachanda stressed that the Maoists did not believe in a one-party state.

He said they had concluded that "multi-partyism is a must, even in socialism" and that without competition, a vibrant society could not be created.

The Maoists have said time and again that such pluralism is necessary.

Another senior Maoist leader, CP Gajurel, recently told the BBC that communism had failed in other countries precisely because it did not allow competition, adding that it would be normal for the party to lose some elections, then come back to win others.

Prachanda also reiterated the Maoists' support for private investment in Nepal, both local and foreign.

But he said Nepal's people and government should decide on investment priorities.

The new assembly is due to sit some time after 20 May and is set to abolish the monarchy.

Discussions are in progress on what should be the composition of the country's new government.

Some in the traditionally biggest party, the Nepali Congress, say the current Congress Prime Minister GP Koirala should continue in the post. But many others ridicule this suggestion.

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