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Nepal’s former Maoist rebels will join an interim government in February, the Himalayan nation’s prime minister said, capping a fast-moving peace process that is ending a decade-old civil war.Earlier this week, the Maoists joined an interim parliament, began handing over weapons and dissolved their parallel government and “people’s courts” under a November peace pact aimed at ending an insurgency in which over 13,000 people died. “The interim government including the Maoists will be set up in 15-20 days at the latest,” Girija Prasad Koirala said. The interim administration aims to organise elections for a special assembly to prepare a new constitution and decide the future of the monarchy, which the Maoists want abolished.

Even as the CPN (Maoist) returned to parliament Monday, signifying a formal end to their decade-old armed uprising, fresh tension had started simmering between them and government over power sharing.

The three major parties in the government and the communist rebels remained deadlocked over the key parliamentary posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

The current Speaker, Subhash Nembang, is from the second biggest party in the government, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML). He was appointed last year after a fierce tussle with deposed prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his Nepali Congress (Democratic) party, who had to settle for the post of Deputy Speaker.’Everything will be changed,’ Maoist chief Prachanda told the media on the eve of his party joining parliament. ‘There will be a new Speaker and deputy.’

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