Elections called in Nepal as constitution deadline passes

  • Three parties have quit Nepal's Maoist-led government, a day after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai called for elections in November following the failure to agree on a new constitution.

    Members of a special assembly had been struggling for four years to reach a consensus ahead of Sunday's deadline.

    The main issue dividing the parties is whether states in Nepal’s new federal system should be formed and named along ethnic lines.

    The announcement came after a cabinet meeting decided in favor of elections rather than declaring a state of emergency.

    The move has sparked a backlash from politicians and Nepalis who have seen the country plough through one crisis to another after the end of a civil war in 2006.

    The departure of three parties from his coalition may force Bhattarai to step down but it is unlikely to affect the November 22 polls.

    Maps: Where is Nepal | Map of Nepal