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Nepali leader calls for changes to the constitution, urges end to the violence

Nepal's prime minister has said he will speak with the president about the possibility of forming a new government. The move comes after days of violence political protests.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said on Friday he would propose an amendment to the country's constitution following protests that erupted in connection with a new constitution the government adopted more than a week ago.

"According to my public commitment and the present provisions of the constitution... I will ask the respected president to take forward the constitutional process to choose the new prime minister," Koirala said before parliament.

For nearly 50 days Nepal has been plagued with violence, as political parties in the south of the country railed against federal restructuring that many see as discriminatory against an ethnic Indian community, the Madhesi, living along the border with India. The protests, which began months ago, escalated after the new constitution was formally adopted on September 20. Forty-seven people have been killed in connection with the protests.

Koirala sought to calm protestors on Friday, urging for an end to the demonstrations and calling for changes to the government that would address every group's rights, German news agency DPA reported.

In addition, he called on India to resume cross-border trade with Nepal, which India halted following the escalating violence in late September. Nepal, who depends on India for all its oil and many other essential supplies, has since suffered a major fuel shortage.

According to the Associated Press, India has said the unofficial blockade is tied not to the adoption of the new constitution, but rather to the ongoing street violence. Earlier this week, authorities in both countries said they were working on a solution to the impasse.

blc/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)

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