Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maoists set for battle with Nepal's centuries-old elite

KATHMANDU (AFP) — A surprise showing by Nepal's Maoists in landmark polls is set to bring their promises of revolutionary land reform and abolition of the monarchy crashing against the traditional ruling elites.

Not only do they plan to boot out the king, who is still viewed by many as the reincarnation of a Hindu god, they also want to dismantle the 240-year-old monarchy and turn royal palaces into museums.

Moreover, the former rebels want to overturn what they view as a wider, "feudal" caste-ridden system, vowing sweeping land reforms and an end to the impoverished country's reliance on foreign aid and remittances by overseas workers.

"We are now in an epoch-changing time," Maoist leader Prachanda told jubilant supporters as the scale of his party's performance at the ballot box began to emerge after last Thursday's elections.

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