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Nepali Congress leader becomes new prime minister

KATMANDU, Nepal — The leader of Nepal’s largest and oldest political party was elected prime minister on Monday with majority support in Parliament that is likely to ease the political instability in the Himalayan nation.

The president of the Nepali Congress party, Sushil Koirala, 76, received 405 votes in the 601-member Parliament. He was supported by the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), the second largest party, and some other smaller groups.

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The declaration from Parliament Speaker Surya Bahadur Thapa that Koirala had secured the simple majority to be elected was followed by applause inside the assembly hall. Hundreds of Koirala’s supporters stood outside the Parliament building.

Koirala was expected to announce a small Cabinet and continue negotiations with other political parties to join a coalition government.

None of the political parties won a majority in the Nov. 19 national election, but the two largest parties agreed Sunday on a coalition government.

It was not known whether 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 parliamentary paralysis.

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