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Nepalese Prime Minister Resigns

March 16, 2000

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ Nepal’s prime minister resigned Thursday following a rebellion by members of his governing party, who blamed him for deteriorating law and order, poor administration and continued attacks by Maoist insurgents.

Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, 76, bowed to the demand of 69 of the 113 Nepali Congress party lawmakers for a change in leadership.

``I announce my resignation from the office of the prime minister and will be formally submitting my resignation to the king today,″ Bhattarai said Thursday in parliament.

Bhattarai became prime minister in May. The party president, Girija Prasd Koirala, is likely to succeed Bhattarai since he enjoys the support of the party rebels.

Koirala has been prime minister twice since democracy was restored in this Himalayan nation through a popular movement in 1990. But instability has dogged Nepal’s politics, and there have been eight different governments in the past 10 years.

The Nepali Congress controls 113 of 205 seats in the lower house of parliament.

Bhattarai had offered to step down after the revolt first surfaced last month. But he stuck to his position until it looked likely that he would lose a confidence vote among his party’s parliament members.

Maoist rebels began a violent campaign nearly four years ago, demanding an end to Nepal’s constitutional monarchy, alleged police repression and remains of the feudal structure in Nepal. More than 1,100 people have been killed in the insurgency.

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