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Thursday, 16 March, 2000, 14:56 GMT
Nepalese PM steps down
Krishna Prasad Bhattarai being sworn in as Prime Minister
Prime Minister Bhattarai was sworn in last May
Nepal's Prime Minister, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, has announced that he is stepping down following a party rebellion.

Mr Bhattarai's resignation came a day before a crucial vote on a motion seeking his removal as the leader of the governing Nepali Congress.

In an emotional address to the Nepalese parliament, Mr. Bhattarai said he wanted younger leaders to replace him.


GP Koirala is favoured to be the next premier
"I am going to tender my resignation to His Majesty the King right away," the 76-year-old premier said.

Mr Bhattarai was elected prime minister after the Nepali Congress won a majority in the general elections last May.

But his nine-month old government was plunged into crisis last week after 58 dissident members of parliament moved a motion to replace him, accusing him of failing to deliver on promises.

Rebellion

His position was further weakened when 11 ministers resigned from his government.

The rebellion was led by party president, Girija Prasad Koirala, who leads a rival faction.

Mr Koirala is said to be the favourite to replace Mr Bhattarai as prime minister.

But the BBC's Sushil Sharma in Kathmandu said Mr Koirala could face a stiff challenge.

Some senior leaders, who feared a split in the party in the event of Mr Bhattarai's defeat, tried to prevent the vote.

A former Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, said that Mr Bhattarai should be allowed a graceful exit.

The voting was deferred to allow time for consultations to end the crisis.

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See also:

18 Feb 00 | South Asia
Resignations spark Nepal crisis
31 May 99 | South Asia
Bhattarai sworn in as Nepal PM
31 Dec 98 | South Asia
Nepal: Instability breeds poverty
14 May 99 | South Asia
Stability key to Nepali election
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