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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006, 06:19 GMT 07:19 UK
New Nepalese PM sworn in by king
Girija Prasad Koirala (left) and King Gyanendra at Koirala's swearing-in ceremony
Koirala and the king met for the first time since the protests
Veteran Nepalese politician Girija Prasad Koirala has been sworn in as prime minister following weeks of pro-democracy protests.

He gave the oath to King Gyanendra, who days ago yielded to public demands to reinstate parliament and ended direct rule imposed last year.

The swearing-in, originally scheduled for Friday, was postponed because of the prime minister's illness.

Mr Koirala is due to address parliament in a few hours and announce a cabinet.

New constitution

It is the fourth time 84-year-old Mr Koirala, who suffers breathing problems, has served as head of government.

GIRIJA PRASAD KOIRALA
Head of Nepali Congress Party
Jailed in 1960 for eight years for pro-democracy views
Prime minister three times in 1990s

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says Mr Koirala leads his party with an iron fist and many of his family have party posts.

Yet, he says, this man, who entered politics in the 1940s and spent seven years in prison for advocating democracy, commands widespread respect as the grand old man of politics here and has a following no other Nepalese politician can match.

Mr Koirala has made it clear his main priorities will be peace talks with the rebels, who declared a three-month ceasefire last week, and elections to an assembly to write a new constitution.

MPs also want the army to be moved from royal to parliamentary control.

King Gyanendra seized absolute power in February 2005, accusing the government of failing to quell the nine-year Maoist insurgency, and dissolved parliament in May.

A coalition of seven political parties, in alliance with the rebels, rallied hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets for nearly three weeks this month, forcing the king to back down.


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Scenes from the first session of the reconvened parliament



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