Nepal's Premier resigns to help peace process

Nepal's Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, resigned yesterday in an attempt to resolve a political crisis and save the peace process more than three years after the end of a decade-long Maoist civil war. "I have decided to resign to clear the way for a political consensus," he said in a televised address.

The Maoists insisted on returning to power at the head of a unity government to oversee the preparation of Nepal's first constitution after it turned into a republic two years ago.

Mr Nepal, a moderate Communist, succeeded the Maoist leader Prachanda as Prime Minister in May last year after the former warlord quit in a conflict over the control of the national army.

Since then, the Maoists had been pressing for Mr Nepal's resignation to pave the way for a national unity government headed by them. The former rebels called the resignation a "positive" step.