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Nepal king dismisses government,
declares emergency

Kathmandu, February 1
Nepal today plunged into a political crisis after King Gyanendra dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba government accusing it of "failing to protect democracy" and declared a state of emergency in the country.

Armoured vehicles with mounted machine guns patrolled the capital and security was beefed up. Plainclothesmen have been stationed at government offices and at residences of several political leaders.

There were unconfirmed reports that political leaders, including those from Nepal Communist Party United Marxist and Leninist, a key ally in the Deuba coalition government, were put under house arrest. Phone lines in the capital were shut down.

The king, in a televised address, declared that a new government would be formed under his leadership that "will restore peace and effective democracy in this country within the next three years."

"I have decided to dissolve the government because it has failed to make necessary arrangements to hold elections by April and protect democracy, the sovereignty of the people and life and property," the king said, announcing the dismissal of the Deuba government installed by him last year. This is the second time in three years that the king has dissolved the government.

"For the larger interest of the Nepalese general public, the nation and democracy and people's fundamentals rights, we have decided to form a new government under my own chairmanship," the king said.

Later, the state-run TV reported that a state of emergency has been declared in the Himalayan Kingdom. PTI


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