South Asia

Nepali prime minister 'ready to resign'

Nepal's prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on steps of constitutional assembly
Image caption Madhav Kumar Nepal became prime minister last May

Nepal's prime minister is "ready to resign" to pave the way for an end to the country's political impasse, his spokesman has said.

Madhav Kumar Nepal agreed to quit to gain support from the opposition Maoist party to extend the term of the parliament.

The three main parties have agreed on a power-sharing deal.

The country has been suffering from political deadlock since the Maoists quit government last May.

"He is ready to resign," a spokesman for Mr Nepal, Bishnu Rijal, told AFP news agency. "But he wants to make sure that all the outstanding issues arising from the peace process are settled before he resigns."

He added that the prime minister would meet party leaders over the weekend to discuss the way forward.

The parliament, or Constitutional Assembly, elected in 2008, had been due to expire on Friday, the deadline to write a new constitution.

But the Maoists, the ruling Communists and the Nepali Congress Party agreed to extend parliament by up to a year.

The Maoists had demanded Mr Nepal's resignation as part of the deal to avert political crisis.

There had been disagreement over the details of the new constitution, which would pave the way for fresh polls. The parliament's extension allows time for more negotiations.

The Maoists, who are the largest party in parliament, have been protesting against the government since their leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, resigned as prime minister last year.

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