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Lawmakers of Ruling Party Choose Nepal’s New Premier

From Associated Press

The man who helped lead Nepal to democracy a decade ago was chosen Saturday to be the nation’s next prime minister--the fourth time that he has headed the Himalayan nation’s chaotic government.

Girija Prasad Koirala was picked by his Nepali Congress party in Parliament to lead the new government, beating Shir Bahadur Deuba--also a former prime minister--by a vote of 69 to 43.

The Nepali Congress has 113 members in the lower house of parliament.

“As the new prime minister, my priorities will be to maintain law and order, eradicate corruption, and good governance,” Koirala told reporters after the result was announced.

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Koirala succeeded Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, who became prime minister after the Nepali Congress won a majority in the 205-seat lower house in elections last year.

Bhattarai, 76, resigned Thursday after a rebellion by members of his governing party who blamed him for deteriorating law and order, poor administration and continued attacks by Maoist insurgents.

Koirala became the country’s first elected prime minister in 1991, after leading thousands of activists in protests the previous year against the three-decade autocratic rule of King Birendra, who bent to demands for a constitutional monarchy. But instability has dogged Nepal’s politics, with eight different governments during the past 10 years.

Koirala was expected to be sworn in Monday by the king, who earlier asked Bhattarai to remain as a caretaker prime minister until his successor was chosen.

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