Friday, June 27, 2008

Nepal's prime minister resigns

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal's prime minister cleared the way for a government led by former communist rebels Thursday with the announcement of his long-delayed resignation.

Word of Girija Prasad Koirala's decision came as a general strike swept through the capital to protest an increase in fuel prices, shutting down schools, businesses and markets.

Four small political parties called the strike to demand the government immediately withdraw fuel price increases, which went into effect June 10.

Koirala had refused for months to step down and make way for a new government, but finally announced his plans at the Constituent Assembly, elected in April to rewrite the constitution and govern the Himalayan nation.

The former guerrillas, formally known as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), resigned from the interim government two weeks ago in an effort to force Koirala, a member of the rival Nepali Congress party, to quit.

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