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Nepal PM resigns in constitution dispute

May 4, 2009 at 11:30 AM

KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 4 (UPI) -- Nepal's prime minister resigned Monday following the controversial firing of the country's army chief of staff and resulting riots, observers said.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who heads the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and is also known as Prachanda, Sunday fired the Army chief for not following government orders to integrate Maoists into the military. The move, however, was immediately overturned by President Ram Baran Yadav, prompting Prachanda's resignation Monday on live television, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

"I have resigned from the post of prime minister from today for the protection of democracy and peace," said Prachanda, who took power eight months ago. "The move by the president is an attack on this infant democracy and the peace process," he added, accusing Yadav of making an "unconstitutional and undemocratic decision."

The quickly developing political turmoil has threatened to undermine Nepal's three-year-old efforts to establish democracy after 10 years of civil war that pitted Maoist rebels against the nation's hereditary monarchy, the newspaper said. The newly formed Constituent Assembly abolished the monarcy in May 2008.

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