New Nepal PM sworn-in, forms cabinet

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Barely three weeks after a democratic federal constitution was promulgated in Nepal, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli was on Monday sworn-in as the country’s new prime minister, heading an eight-member cabinet.

President Ram Baran Yadav administered the oaths of office and secrecy to Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) chairman Oli and his cabinet colleagues at a brief function here in Sheetal Niwas, the presidential palace, Xinhua news agency reported.

Oli, 63, secured support of 338 lawmakers of 587 voting in the 599-seat house.

Oli, who was elected prime minister by the country’s parliament on Sunday, chose two deputies in Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Kamal Thapa.

Oli, a chronic patient of kidney-related ailments, is known to be a hawkish politician, whose sharp-worded statements have made headlines in the media.

The two have been rewarded for the support they extended to Oli during Sunday’s vote against immediate past premier Sushil Koirala, of the Nepali Congress.

While Thapa heads Nepal’s only royalist party, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, Gachhadar is chairman of the Madhesi Rights Forum, Democratic — which chose to break away from the ongoing anti-constitution agitation by the Madhesi community and ethnic people of Nepal’s southern Terai plains.

The five administered oath as ministers were Agni Kharel, Satya Narayan Mandal, Som Pandey, Haribol Gajurel and Ram Kumar Subba. Their portfolios were yet to be announced.

An earlier sharp critic of the Maoists, Oli joined hands with UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to become the 38th prime minister of Nepal.

Oli also needs to carry out on war footing reconstruction and rehabilitation necessitated by the April 25 earthquake, restoring peace and tranquillity in the Nepal-India border area and working towards political stability.

Oli started his political career some 45 years back from Jhapa district in eastern Nepal. He represents Jhapa-7 constituency in parliament.

He served many years in jail during the partyless Panchayat era in Nepal before 1990 when the king was head of state. He has served as home and foreign minister in the past.

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