URGENT ¥¥¥ Nepal's Maoists to hand premiership to independent

Nepal's Maoists vowed Saturday never to return to guerrilla warfare and offered to give up leadership of the nation to an independent prime minister to lead the Himalayan nation towards democracy.

Party leaders said at their general convention they would step down from government to seek the mandate of the people to lead a "socialist revolution", six years after their armed insurgency toppled the world's last Hindu monarchy.

"Let's agree on an independent person who will lead the government. And we will endorse this concept of a government led by an independent person to hold the election through this convention," said party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.