The resignation of Nepal's prime minister has plunged the country into political turmoil again. The political parties have a week to form a consensus government. China has sent in a high-level delegation to help.
Jhala Nath Khanal didn't last more than a few months
When decades of conflict between Maoist rebels and the Nepalese government came to an end in 2006, one of the conditions of the peace agreement was that a new constitution be drafted. However, this has been a cause of headache ever since and several Nepalese prime ministers have resigned over their failure to reach consensus.
Resolving the fate of former Maoist rebels is proving to be very complicated
There is currently an August 31 deadline to complete a draft constitution and observers fear that if it is not met the ensuing political instability could derail the peace process.
Another prime minister resigns
On Sunday, Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal resigned after his government too met with difficulties as it tried to draft a constitution. He said that the lack of support from different parties had prevented him from completing the peace process with former Maoist rebels. Many of these ex-guerrillas have been confined to camps since 2006 and resolving their fate has proved a challenge to all the governments since.
The chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist-Leninist (UML) had only been prime minister since February. He was elected after seven months of political gridlock in which no candidate could muster enough votes to be elected as prime minister. The Maoists threw their weight behind him at the time and he promised to form a unity government, which never materialized because of differences between the parties.
There were celebrations when the monarchy was abolished but the republic has been struggling to find its feet
President Ram Baran Yadav asked the prime minister and government to stay on in a caretaker role until a consensus government was formed. He gave political parties one week to do this, announcing that otherwise he would exercise his right to impose a majority government.
Chinese delegation arrives in Kathmandu
Late on Tuesday, a 60-member high-level Chinese delegation arrived in Nepal to discuss the peace process and the drafting of the constitution. An agreement between Nepal and China on economic and technical cooperation is expected to be signed during its visit.
The Chinese delegation members were expected to meet key political figures including Yadav and Khanal. "China is trying to make its presence felt with this visit, as India already has a strong presence in Nepal," political analyst Tirtha Koirala told the German news agency dpa.
Author: Anne Thomas (dpa, AFP, AP)
Editor: Ziphora Robina