Koirala set to be sworn in as Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala
was sworn is as Nepal's new prime minister today by King Gyanendra, following weeks of violent pro-democracy protests. The king
, humbled by the protests and facing possible moves to end the monarchy, administered the oath of office to his 84-year-old arch foe at the Narayanhity royal palace in the capital, Kathmandu. A frail Koirala, who is suffering from bronchitis, waved at reporters outside the iron gate of the palace after becoming Nepal's 15th prime minister in 16 years. Koirala, the head of the Nepali Congress party, did not take a separate oath to establish himself as a member of the Raj Parishad, a privy council that advises the king. The prime minister automatically becomes a member of the council under Nepal's constitution but political parties have called for it to be abolished. It was the first time a prime minister had declined an oath to the council since multi-party democracy was established in 1990 and marked the latest of several recent moves by political parties to distance themselves from the monarch. Koirala, who has been prime minister four times before, was accompanied by his doctor to the ceremony. Last week, the king appointed Koirala as prime minister on the recommendation of the seven political parties that launched weeks of street protests in which at least 15 people were killed and thousands wounded. The king also reinstated parliament disbanded in 2002. At least 117 cases of journalists being attacked and wounded, including some by gunfire, by security forces while covering pro-democracy demonstrations were also recorded. Critics said the unpopular king may be down now but not yet out.
"Given his personality, as long as he is around, even if he is a symbolic monarch, he will be up to some mischief."
Dixit said the king had money and controlled the army which would tempt him to meddle in the unsettled politics.
"Therefore, one of the first things parliament should do is to clip the king's wings."
Koirala, in a notice to parliament which convened for the first time in four years, proposed elections for a special assembly to draw up a new constitution that would decide the future of monarchy. Political parties are under popular pressure to abolish the monarchy and turn Nepal into a republic. This is also a key demand of Maoist rebels to end a decade-old insurgency in which more than 13,000 people have been killed. Officials said Koirala's plan would be discussed at the second sitting of parliament which is due to meet on Sunday. The parliament is expected to give directives to the new government to match the Maoists who announced a unilateral three-month ceasefire last week and to start talks with them. - Koirala sworn in as Nepal's new premier
- New Nepal prime minister sworn in
- Economic Times
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette
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