PM elected in Nepal for a third term

A former three-time prime minister was re-elected to lead Nepal's largest political party for a third term, the party announced Friday.

The Nepali Congress party is leading an alliance of seven major political parties working to restore democracy in the Himalayan kingdom.

Girija Prasad Koirala, 80, received 1,215 votes against 165 votes for his rival, Narhari Acharya. They were the only two candidates for the post of president of the party.

The party also elected 18 members of its Central Working Committee, its highest organization, the AP reports.

King Gyanendra seized absolute power on Feb. 1 by sacking the government, jailing politicians, imposing a state of emergency and setting up a hand-picked Cabinet chaired by himself.

Party officials said that with the party election over, they can now concentrate on the struggle for democracy.

"Our focus will be to strengthen the movement to restore democracy. At the same time we will be strengthening our party structures and making changes to policies," said Arjun Narsingh, the party's spokesman.

A tug-of-war within the party over its leadership has been blamed for slowing down the campaign to restore democracy, although all factions in the party agreed on the goal.

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