Nepal PM announces elections in 6 months as constitution deadline passes

Last Updated: Mon, May 28, 2012 07:10 hrs

Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has announced elections in six months time after the country's political parties failed to agree a new constitution.

Nepal's 601-membered special assembly have been struggling for years to find consensus ahead of Sunday's deadline, the parties were divided on the issue of whether states in the new federal system in Nepal should be formed and named along ethnic lines.

This debate over the ethnic identity of states has reportedly sparked violent protests in recent weeks in the country.

Bhattarai outlined that there was "no alternative" to fresh elections.

"Though we were unable to promulgate the constitution, we have decided to seek a mandate through elections for a new Constituent Assembly on 22 November," the BBC quoted Bhattarai, as saying.

Bhattarai, who leads a national unity government made up of the four major parties, blamed rival groupings within the coalition for the breakdown of talks.

The announcement came after a cabinet meeting decided in favour of elections over declaring a state of emergency, which would have allowed parliament to be extended for six months. (ANI)

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