16 Aug 2008

Rebel leader now PM in Nepal

8:10 am on 16 August 2008

Nepal's former Maoist rebel leader, Prachanda, has become the first prime minister to be elected since the abolition of the monarchy in May.

It opens the way for the formation of a new government, capping a peace process that ended a civil war.

Maoists won a surprise victory in April elections and two other key parties supported Prachanda in the vote. He won 464 out of the 577 ballots cast in a special Constituent Assembly vote.

It is only two years since he emerged from more than 20 years underground as a militant communist leader.

What the Maoists called their "people's war" left 13,000 people dead, many more displaced and much of the country's infrastructure destroyed.