Nepal’s parliamentary speaker resigns after rape accusation

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The speaker of Nepal’s parliament, one of the country’s leading Communist Party leaders, resigned Tuesday following allegations that he raped a government worker at her home while he was intoxicated.

In the letter of resignation, Krishna Bahadur Mahara said he wants to make it easier for an independent and unbiased investigation of the allegation.

Police refused to comment. News reports said the woman accused Mahara of entering her house Sunday night while her husband was away and assaulting her.

An earlier statement issued by Mahara’s office said the allegation was baseless and that he had stepped out of his official residence for only two hours in the afternoon and was home on Sunday evening.

It said the woman had been refused a position in Mahara’s office and was likely angry as a result.

Mahara was elected speaker of the House of Representative last year after the Communist Party of Nepal won a majority of the seats in elections in November 2017.

Mahara was a leading figure of the Maoist rebels who fought a violent campaign against the government between 1996 and 2006. The Maoists entered United Nations-monitored peace talks in 2006, ending their armed revolt, and joined mainstream politics. Mahara played a key role in the peace talks with the government.

He has served as deputy prime minister, information minister and home minister.