05/04/2009, 00.00
NEPAL
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Prime Minister Prachanda resigns

by Kalpit Parajuli
President and prime minister get into an institutional tug-of-war. After the prime minister dismisses the army chief, the president reinstates him. United Nations calls for a consensus-based solution to the crisis.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepali Prime Minister Prachanda (pictured) has tendered his resignation, following President Ram Baran Yadav’s decision to override the removal of Army Chief General Rookmangud Katawal. Mr Prachanda had unilaterally sacked the general.

In just two days the country has come to face a major constitutional crisis that pits the two highest offices of the land against one another

Mr Prachanda said that the President’s decision is “unconstitutional” and that he opted to resign to safeguard the “country’s young democracy and peace.”

“I appeal to the people, civil society and political powers to be committed to the struggle for establishing a democratic Nepal,” the outgoing premier said.

The crisis that led to the prime minister’s resignation is a consequence of General Katawal’s refusal to integrate former Maoist rebels into the regular army.

The rebels fought a ten-year war (1996-2006) that caused the fall of the monarchy and led to the first democratic elections in April 2008.

Since then the fate of 20,000 rebels weighs heavily on the future of the country, at a same time when Nepalis are trying to draft a new constitution.

Now there is a risk that the end of the Prachanda administration might lead the rebels back to the war path.

As the crisis unfolded in the mountain nation United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his vivid concern for the ongoing political crisis.

“The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to resolve the crisis through dialogue and consensus, with full respect for the provisions of the constitution,” a statement issued by his office in New York said.

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