Sushil Koirala to ask President to start process to elect new PM

Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Friday said he would ask President to initiate a process to elect a new premier, as he invited the agitating parties for talks on issues surrounding the new constitution.

Kathmandu: Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Friday said he would ask President to initiate a process to elect a new premier, as he invited the agitating parties for talks on issues surrounding the new constitution.

Making a valedictory speech at Parliament here, Koirala appreciated the newly promulgated constitution, saying the historical document has fulfilled people's decades-long dream to have a constitution written by their representative.

The veteran Nepali Congress leader, who was elected as the Prime Minister in February 2014, said he was going to meet President Ram Baran Yadav to initiate the process for the change of the guard.

"I will ask the respected President to take forward the constitutional process to choose the new prime minister," 76-year-old Koirala told parliament.

The constitution requires that a new prime minister be elected from the Parliament within seven days of beginning of the first session of the House after commencement of the new charter.

The UML has been demanding that the Prime Minister step down from his post to implement the constitution.

Although Koirala has not announced his resignation, once the new Prime Minister is elected as per the constitutional provision his post will automatically be vacated.

In his speech, Koirala invited the agitating parties to come to the table for talks.

The government has formed a team headed by forest minister Mahesh Acharya and informal talks have already started with the agitating Madhesi groups.

Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai region bordering India who are opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.

The agitating Madhesi Front claims that the Constitution does not guarantee enough rights and representation to the Madhesi and Tharu communities residing in southern Nepal.

At least 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities.

The agitating groups have imposed a blockade and stalled supply of essential goods from India to Nepal via road, causing shortage of essential goods in the country.

K P Oli, who is tipped to be the next prime minister, yesterday said: "India should not impose undeclared blockade in the name of dissatisfaction expressed by a few political parties and some political leaders (on the new Constitution).

India has rejected as "totally false" allegations that it blockaded a key trade checkpoint on the border with Nepal.

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