Communist party leader elected as Nepal's new prime minister


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Nepal’s parliament has elected Communist party leader, Khadga Prasad Oli, as the new prime minister, thrusting him into the centre of daunting challenges, from protests over the new constitution to rebuilding after April’s devastating earthquake.

Oli received 338 votes from the 597-member chamber, defeating his predecessor Sushil Koirala, who received 249 votes.

Oli, 63, is generally popular in Nepal and has a reputation for being outspoken. Some use the phrase “Oli ko goli” to describe him – “When Oli speaks, he fires [a bullet]”.

He had previously served as deputy prime minister and as a minister in previous governments even though he has a kidney condition and has had to make trips abroad for treatment to India and Thailand.

The leader of the Communist party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) received the support of many smaller parties, including their rival United Communist party of Nepal (Maoist).

Oli and Koirala were coalition partners in the last government. Koirala became prime minister in 2014, but the constitution that was adopted last month required him to step down.

It was still undecided which other parties would join in Oli’s new government.

He comes to power at a delicate time, with ethnic Madhesis and other groups in the south protesting against the new constitution in riots that have left 45 people dead. India, which has close ties to the Madhesis, is also unhappy with the constitution.

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