Nepal Nepal King appoints new Prime Minister
On Oct. 4, 2002 The Nepali King dismissed his Prime Minister and cabinet, calling him "incompetent" and "incapable" of holding parliamentary elections on schedule in November. See article.

On Oct. 11 he appointed a former pro-monarchy Prime Minister who said "We will open a window to have a dialogue with the Maoists." "We want to hold early elections but it is not possible next month."

See also Oct. Department of State Announcement.

Article from Yahoo DailyNews

Nepal King Appoints Prime Minister
Fri Oct 11, 1:25 PM ET

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA, Associated Press Writer

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Nepal's King Gyanendra named the head of a pro-monarchy party the new prime minister on Friday, party officials said, a week after he fired the government and took political control of the Himalayan nation.

Lokendra Bahadur Chand, 63, who heads the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, was prime minister twice under the parliamentary democratic system installed in 1990 and once under the feudal, village-based political system associated with Nepal's former absolute monarchy.

"My first priority will be to restore peace and stability in the country for which I will try to open dialogue with the Maoist rebels," Chand said.

Chand and his nine-member cabinet was scheduled to take the oath of office at the royal palace Friday evening, the palace said.

The announcement was made as 4,000 supporters of the two biggest political parties held demonstrations to protest the king's firing of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba last week.

Waving flags and placards, the protesters marched through the streets chanting: "Save democracy," "Save our constitution." Some carried flags of the two largest parties, the Nepali Congress and the Nepali Communist Party.

After a week's delay, the king held separate meetings Friday morning with the leaders of the six major political parties, but did not meet them jointly as they requested. The party leaders wanted to have a voice in selecting an interim government to act as a caretaker until elections could be held.

It was not immediately known what the king and the party leaders discussed, but it is unlikely that the leaders suggested the monarchist Chand as the interim prime minister.

The late King Birendra named Chand as interim prime minister during Nepal's transition from absolute monarchy to democracy in 1990. He was forced to step down after 11 days, when a coalition of top political parties formed an interim government and conducted an election in 1991.

Chand again became prime minister in 1997, in a coalition with the communist party that lasted six months. Chand could not hold onto his position because of feuds in his own party.

Under the absolute monarchy, when political parties were banned, he was prime minister for three years.

Gyanendra sacked the elected government last week, the first time since the end of absolute monarchy that a king has ousted an elected government and its leader, even though he has power to do so under the constitution.

Gyanendra indefinitely postponed the elections scheduled to start Nov. 13 when he fired Deuba. The king said Deuba was incompetent and incapable of holding the elections on time, after the prime minister asked for a one-year postponement because of fears the rebels would disrupt them.

The rebels have been fighting since 1996 to abolish democracy, the monarchy and vestiges of the feudal system. They increased attacks since the king accepted Deuba's request to lift a national state of emergency in August to allow for election campaigning.

The emergency was imposed in November after the rebels broke off peace talks. Under the emergency decree, freedoms of speech, press and assembly were restricted severely and people could be detained on suspicion of favoring the Maoists.

Gyanendra ascended to the throne last year after his brother former King Birendra and eight other royal family members were killed in a palace massacre. A government inquiry later found that the then-crown prince shot the other victims before taking his own life.