South Asia

New Nepal PM Baburam Bhattarai names cabinet ministers

Baburam Bhattarai
Image caption Mr Bhattarai has many challenges ahead of him

Nepal's Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has appointed 12 cabinet ministers, a week after he took office.

Mr Bhattarai has also named a deputy prime minister - Narayankaji Shrestha from his own Maoist party.

The cabinet now comprises seven Maoists and eight members from an alliance of smaller parties which supported Mr Bhattarai's election.

The formation of a government was delayed due to differences between the Maoists and their partners in alliance.

Mr Bhattarai heads the party of Maoist rebels who fought a decade-long guerrilla campaign against the former monarchy until joining the United Nations-supervised peace process in 2006.

The monarchy was eventually removed from power in 2008 but more than 16,000 people had died in the civil war.

Mr Bhattarai, 57, faces the immediate challenge of agreeing the first draft of the new constitution before 31 August, the expiry date of the constituent assembly.

There has been political deadlock on the issue since the parliament's election, with the Maoists as the largest party, in 2008.