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Nepal's New Parliament Convenes, Without Its Leader


Nepal's parliament has met for the first time in four years. It convened after King Gyanendra conceded to opposition parties and pro-democracy protesters earlier this week - but the new prime minister was too sick to attend.

As parliament reopened, legislators stood for a moment of silence to honor at least 14 people who died during anti-government demonstrations that forced King Gyanendra's hand. Parliament was dismissed in May 2002.

That sparked a political crisis, which deepened when the king took full control of government in February of last year.

He finally gave in to demands to restore parliament just days ago, following weeks of massive pro-democracy protests.

Demonstrators gathered again Friday, this time outside parliament. Many, like this university professor, say it is important to pressure legislators to push ahead with democratic reform.

"We cannot be too optimistic, because politicians have betrayed the country time and again."

Former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala has again been named as the head of the government. But the 84-year-old politician was unable to attend the opening session of parliament, due to poor health.

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