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Nepal's New PM Forms Coalition Government - 2004-07-05

Nepal's new Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has formed a multi-party government after a week of tough political maneuvering. There are now 31 cabinet members, from four parties, in the coalition government. But the country's largest party, the Nepali Congress, refused to join.

The royal palace issued a statement Monday saying Mr. Deuba is keeping the defense and foreign affairs portfolios himself. His deputy prime minister is Bharat Mohan Adhikari of the United Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Nepal.

The prime minister says a resumption of peace talks with Maoist rebels and the restoration of democracy will be at the top of his agenda.

Nepal has been in political turmoil since October 2002, when King Gyanendra fired the democratically elected government led by Mr. Deuba and replaced it with a pro-monarchy one. Mr. Deuba was re-appointed on June second.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters