Nepal's prime minister resigns

AP News
Posted: Aug 14, 2011 1:40 PM
Nepal's prime minister resigns

Nepal's prime minister resigned from office on Sunday saying he was clearing the way for a new government to take power.

Press adviser Surya Thapa said late Sunday that Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal had submitted his resignation to President Rambaran Yadav.

"The major tasks of accomplishing the peace process and writing the new constitution have not progressed as desired," Khanai's office said in a statement. "Therefore, the prime minister stepped down with an objective to pave the way for forming a national consensus government and expedite the statute drafting and peace process."

Khanal was elected to his post in a parliamentary vote in February but came under pressure from the opposition to step down.

The main opposition Nepali Congress party has accused him of failing to live up to his promises to move forward the peace process that ended years of fighting in the Himalayan nation.

Maoist guerrillas gave up their armed revolt in 2006 to join mainstream politics. However, thousands of former Maoist fighters still live in camps and their future is yet to be determined. Khanal had promised he would resolve the issue but failed to do. The deadline for writing a new constitution was extended to May, but work on it still has not been completed.

Khanal not only has faced problems from the opposition, but also from within his own party and the main coalition partner _ Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) _ since the day he took office. They were not happy with the distribution of ministerial portfolios.

The opposition members have been blocking parliament since late last month demanding Khanal's resignation.

It was not clear who would form a new government. None of the political parties have a parliamentary majority, making it necessary for any new prime minister to form a coalition government.

Khanal was chosen by parliament to be prime minister on the 17th attempt, seven months after the previous government had resigned because the political parties could not reach an agreement.