KATMANDU -- Nepal's communist rebels, who backed the opposition protests that forced King Gyanendra to restore parliament, declared a three-month, unilateral cease-fire today in their violent campaign against the monarchist government.
The announcement came a day before the reinstated parliament convenes in Katmandu. It is expected to elect a new prime minister and initiate the process for electing a special assembly that would write a new constitution.
''We declare a unilateral cease-fire for three months," the elusive rebel leader Prachanda said in a statement. He said the rebels would hold their fire ''to express deep commitment to people's desire for peace."
The rebel decision follows a meeting between Prachanda and Girija Prasad Koirala, who is likely to be named prime minister. Their talk cleared up misunderstanding between the alliance of seven opposition parties and the rebels.
The rebels initially had been angered by the alliance's acceptance of Gyanendra's offer to hand over power and reinstate parliament that would form a new government, saying it was a betrayal of an understanding between the alliance and the rebels.
The Maoist insurgents had backed the opposition's nearly three-week campaign of protests against the royal dictatorship.
However, the politicians called off the demonstrations Tuesday after the king agreed to hand power back to elected officials.
Yesterday, soldiers opened fire on a crowd of thousands of villagers angry about the death of a local woman at an army base in southwestern Nepal, killing six and wounding at least 11, officials said.