Friday, July 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Nepal PM resigns
Cites crisis over Maoist uprising as reason

Kathmandu, July 19
Nepal’s embattled Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala resigned today, citing a national crisis over a growing insurgency by Maoist rebels.

“I have decided to resign,” Mr Koirala said on the state radio and television. “The country now is passing through a very serious situation. The attack by the Maoists is directed not only against the democracy of the country but it is also directed at disturbing national security and integrity.”

“If all political parties do not confront the crisis unitedly the country will face an even graver situation in the future.”

Mr Koirala (78) had been criticised for failing to inform the people promptly about the June 1 massacre of King Birendra and eight other members of the royal family allegedly by the drunken Crown Prince Dipendra at a family gathering.

He was also under intense pressure from opposition parties to resign over corruption allegations and his failure to stamp out the five-year-old Maoist rebellion.

Mr Koirala, Prime Minister for most of the 10 years since Nepal has had a democratic government, handed his resignation to King Gyanendra.

More than 1,600 rebels, security personnel and civilians have been killed in the Maoist insurgency since it began in 1996. The rebels, who model themselves after Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas, have intensified their attacks on the police in the past few weeks, kidnapping the entire staff of remote village police stations.

A democracy movement 10 years ago forced the previous King, allegedly assassinated by his son and heir on June 1, to abolish absolute monarchy and change the Himalayan kingdom’s feudal laws.

The Prime Minister faced down a rebellion in his own Nepali Congress Party a few months ago.

The party controls 113 seats in the 205-seat House of Representatives, the lower House. But it lacks a majority in the upper House, having lost a June 28 election, that stalls adoption of new laws.

Earlier, Speaker Taranath Ranabhat postponed the meeting of the House of Representatives until July 20.

A meeting of the National Assembly, the upper House of parliament, too was postponed as all opposition lawmakers chose to boycott it. Reuters, AP, IANS 

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