Nepal’s prime minister has called elections, after years of deadlock in which political parties have failed to agree a new constitution. Parliament has been extended four times since 2008 while a special assembly has struggled to reach consensus. When the latest deadline was missed, Baburam Bhattarai said there was “no alternative” but polls in six months. Political parties disagree on the issue of whether states in a new federal system should be along ethnic lines.
“Though we were unable to promulgate the constitution, we have decided to seek a mandate through elections for a new Constituent Assembly on 22 November,” he announced in a televised address to the nation. The announcement came after a cabinet meeting decided in favour of elections over declaring a state of emergency, which would have allowed parliament to be extended for six months.