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Nepal PM Says He Will Help Form New Government, Then Resign

Activists in support of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (or National Democratic Party) chant slogans during a protest near the constitution assembly building in Kathmandu May 27, 2011

Nepal's prime minister says he is committed to a recent agreement that calls for him to step down once a new national unity government is put into place.

In an address Tuesday, Jhalanath Khanal said he is ready to play a constructive role in the formation of the national consensus government.

His speech came after lawmakers voted Saturday to give parliament a three-month extension to complete the long-overdue work on drafting a new constitution. Many lawmakers had wanted a longer extension, but decided not to risk deepening public anger by giving parliament additional 90 days to complete the task.

The agreement called for lawmakers to address major issues of the peace process, such as the integration of former Maoist rebels into the national army.

Mr. Khanal, who was elected to his post in February, agreed to step down once a power-sharing government is established, though no timeframe was given.

Meanwhile, thousands of young Nepalese continue their campaign, using social networking sites like Facebook, to pressure political parties to draw up the new constitution.

For four Saturdays in a row, the youth have demonstrated in the capital, Kathmandu, demanding that lawmakers forego their salaries until they finish the document, which was supposed to be drafted by May 2010.

One of the organizers of the youth campaign, Prashant Singh, said that for the next three months, the activists will keep up the pressure on political parties.