Nepal MPs in negotiations to form government
Nepal's three main parties held talks on Sunday to discuss a new coalition government after the prime minister agreed to resign. Madhav Kumar Nepal said he would step down to secure support of Maoist MPs for a bill to extend parliament's term, which was due to expire Friday and would have left the country without a functioning legislature.
Leaders of the Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal and the Maoists are in talks. The Maoists, the largest party in parliament, are likely to take a leading role in the next coalition government.
But the prime minister said there were many things to be resolved first. The Maoists fought a decade-long civil war against the state before agreeing to lay down their arms in a 2006 peace agreement.
But four years later, several of the terms of that deal remain unfulfilled, such as the integration of thousands of former Maoist fighters into the national army and the disbanding of the party's armed youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL), which other parties say is an obstacle to lasting peace.
A spokesman for the prime minister said on Sunday that the Maoist party agreed that army integration, YCL disbandment and the appointment of a new leader are urgent.
When this is agreed the prime minister will resign.
The Maoist party won 2008 elections, but their government fell last year in a disagreement over the integration of their former fighters into the national army.
Karin Landgren, representative of the UN Secretary-General to Nepal, welcomed the extension of the parliament, saying it secures the continuation of the peace process.
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