Nepal PM asks Maoists to form new government

Girija Prasad Koirala has asked Maoist former rebels to form a new government after their election win.

Nepal PM asks Maoists to form new government

Nepal's prime minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, has asked Maoist former rebels to form a new government after their election win, a minister said on Saturday, in a sign he will not impede the process.

Koirala's call to Maoist chief Prachanda to press ahead ends a month of unclear signals from Koirala's side following the former guerrillas' unexpected victory in April.

The move came after several Maoist leaders demanded the prime minister's immediate resignation to clear the way for them to form a new cabinet. He ignored the demands.

"The prime minister has urged Prachanda to initiate moves to forge the necessary political consensus to form a new government as the biggest political party in the constituent assembly," Ram Chandra Poudel, the peace and reconstruction minister, told reporters after a meeting between the two leaders.

"Prachanda will come up with a proposal now," he said. He did not give details on how the government might look.

Although Koirala has been elected into the new assembly, it is unclear what position he will hold under a Maoist-led government. Some analysts said his long post-election silence could have indicated that he was negotiating with the Maoists for a suitable role.

The former rebels do not have an absolute majority in the 601-member assembly. They are urging other political parties, including the centrist Nepali Congress headed by Koirala, to join a national coalition government headed by Prachanda.

Many have refused. They say the former rebels have not given up the violent and intimidating practices honed during their decade-long war against the monarchy, despite striking a peace deal in 2006.

The Maoists say they hope to form a new government after the first meeting of the assembly next week, but it is unclear if it will be coalition or a minority government.

That meeting is expected to declare an end to centuries of monarchy and turn Nepal into a republic, a key condition in the 2006 peace deal that ended the conflict in which more than 13,000 people were killed.

The assembly will then begin work on a new constitution for Nepal, a job which is likely to take at least two years.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mayıs 2008, 19:04