Maoist rebels rejoin Nepal government
Four former communist rebels were sworn in as Cabinet ministers in Nepal on Monday, ending a political crisis that began when the ex-guerrillas walked out of a coalition government three-months ago.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala administered the oath of office.
"Now we will all concentrate on the election," Koirala told reporters after the ceremony.
The twice-postponed elections for a Constituent Assembly to draw up Nepal's new constitution will take place in early April, political leaders announced earlier this month.
Five members of the former rebel group, widely known as Maoists, were appointed as ministers Sunday. One was out of town and unable to attend Monday's ceremony.
"Our main agenda now will be to make sure elections are held on time," the Maoists' deputy leader Baburam Bhattarai said after the swearing-in ceremony.
Bhattarai said the communists would leave the government again if elections were not held by April 12, 2008 the end of the Nepali calendar year.
The ex-rebels agreed to rejoin the interim coalition government after the country's seven main political parties agreed last week to abolish the country's monarchy immediately after elections now scheduled for April.
The Maoists withdrew from the government on Sept. 18 demanding electoral reform and the immediate removal of the king, plunging Nepal into a political crisis and forcing the government to postpone elections initially planned for November.
The communist rebels gave up their decade-long armed revolt last year after more than 13,000 people died in the fighting against government forces.