Nepal PM says he will ask President to start process of forming new government

A file picture taken on Sept 18, 2015 shows Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala signing a final copy of the newly passed constitution at the parliament in Kathmandu. Koirala on October 2 said he would ask Nepal's president to begin the process of
A file picture taken on Sept 18, 2015 shows Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala signing a final copy of the newly passed constitution at the parliament in Kathmandu. Koirala on October 2 said he would ask Nepal's president to begin the process of forming a new government, following the country's adoption of a new Constitution.PHOTO: AFP

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Friday (Oct 2) said he would ask the President to begin the process of choosing his successor and forming a new government, following the country's adoption of a new Constitution last month.

"According to my public commitment and the present provisions of the Constitution... I will ask the respected president to take forward the constitutional process to choose the new prime minister," Mr Koirala told Parliament.

Mr Koirala had pledged to step down after the Constitution - Nepal's first to be drawn up by elected representatives - was adopted on Sept 20.

It marked the final stage in a peace process that began when Maoist rebels laid down their arms in 2006 after a decade-long insurgency.

The charter was meant to end years of inequality and cement peace but bitter disputes over its provisions have sparked deadly protests and a blockade of a key trade route by demonstrators that has forced nationwide fuel rationing.

More than 40 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters representing ethnic minorities who say a new federal structure laid out in the constitution will leave them under-represented in the national parliament.

"I call on (protesting parties) to sit for dialogue and talks and solve the disagreements," Mr Koirala said.

Work on the new Constitution began in 2008 after the Maoists won parliamentary elections and abolished the monarchy. But power-sharing squabbles between parties stymied progress.

Lawmakers finally reached agreement in June this year, spurred by a massive earthquake two months earlier that killed nearly 8,900 people and left half a million people homeless.