Sushil Koirala set to be next Nepal prime minister
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Sushil Koirala set to be next Nepal prime minister

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The leader of Nepal’s largest political party is likely to be Nepal’s next prime minister as he is the only contender and has enough support to be elected during voting in parliament on Monday.

The president of Nepali Congress party, Sushil Koirala, has 194 members from his party and support from the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), which has 175 members in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, where a simple majority is needed to be elected.

None of the political parties won a majority in the Nov. 19 election and the two largest parties finally reached an agreement late Sunday on a coalition government. It was not known if other parties will join the coalition.

“Our party will shoulder the responsibility to conclude the peace process and produce a democratic constitution,” Koirala said ahead of the vote. “We will take the lead in preparing a draft of the new constitution.”

The Himalayan country has stumbled through the last five years with no constitution and a parliamentary paralysis in addressing chronic problems.

A constitution was supposed to have been written by an assembly elected in 2008 following the end of a 10-year Maoist insurgency and the overthrow of the centuries-old monarchy. But the assembly was riven by infighting and never finished its work.

Koirala, 76, is a veteran politician who has led his party for the past four years. He also spent six years in jail and nearly 20 years in exile in India because he opposed the autocratic rule of the king.

Politicians hope the election of Koirala with support from nearly two-thirds of the members of the assembly will bring some political stability to Nepal.

“We will also work to include other parties in the coalition,” said Jhal Nath Khanal, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist).