Nepal’s new premier, deputies sworn in

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– KP Sharma Oli was sworn in as Nepal’s new prime minister Monday.

Deputy Prime Ministers Kamal Thapa and Bijay Kumar Gachhadar were also sworn in along with five other ministers.

Oli’s choice of deputies was aimed at appeasing competing interests in Nepal’s fractured politics.

Thapa is a staunch royalist, whose party wants Nepal to be an officially Hindu state. The constitution agreed in September after years of wrangling declares it a secular state.

Gachhadar heads one of the parties from the ethnic Madheshi bloc in the southern region, which has been protesting against the federal system established in the new constitution.

The southern belt has seen violent protest against the new charter for two months, claiming at least 47 people were killed.

India has closed the border to trade, allegedly due to security concerns. But critics allege that New Delhi is pressuring Nepal to amend the constitution in favour of the Madeshi, which share strong cultural and historic ties with India.

Oli was elected in a parliamentary vote on Sunday, with the backing of 14 of the 31 parties, including those led by Thapa and Gachhadar.

He must resolve the southern unrest, restore trade with India and tackle reconstruction work after the devastating twin earthquakes in April and May.

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