Nepal's president orders election for new PM

AP News
Posted: Aug 24, 2011 9:23 AM
Nepal's president orders election for new PM

Nepal's president ordered parliament on Wednesday to vote for a new prime minister after the main political parties failed to agree on a coalition government.

President Rambaran Yadav had set a Sunday deadline for the parties to form a coalition government with representatives from each group. He extended that deadline by three days, but they were unable to reach a consensus.

Yadav sent a letter to parliament's secretariat on Wednesday ordering it to begin the election process immediately. The date for the election has not yet been set.

Former Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal resigned 10 days ago after failing to make process in drafting a new constitution, plunging the country back into a political crisis.

To become prime minister, a candidate must win the support of more than half of parliament's 601 members, but no party holds a majority. Khanal was elected in February after 17 rounds of voting spread over seven months.

Political turmoil has continued in Nepal despite the end of a communist insurgency in 2006, when the Maoists gave up their armed revolt and joined mainstream politics. They confined their fighters to camps and locked up their weapons.

Nepal is still struggling to decide the future of the thousands of former fighters, and a new constitution which was supposed to be finished in 2010 is far from complete.