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Nepal ex-rebel PM to be sworn in

world Updated: Aug 18, 2008 11:23 IST

The leader of Nepal's Maoists is to be officially sworn in as prime minister of the world's newest republic Monday, officials said.

Prachanda was on Friday overwhelmingly voted in as Nepal's premier by lawmakers in the country's constitutional assembly.

"Prachanda will be sworn in later Monday, and we are very close to forming the coalition government," said Ishwor Pokharel, a leader from the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), a Maoist government ally.

The Maoists allied with two of Nepal's four biggest parties -- the UML and the Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum -- to ensure they would get the votes needed to have Prachanda named as the country's most powerful politician.

The Maoists and their allies have yet to agree on the distribution of ministerial portfolios, but have agreed on an ambitious "common minimum programme," the UML leader said.

High on the new government's agenda will be swiftly tackling crippling fuel and food shortages as well as "socio-economic transformation through land reform."

In addition, the Maoist-led government will be in charge of drafting a new constitution and establishing a ministerial body to address the fate of 19,000 Maoist guerrillas confined to camps as part of the 2006 peace deal.