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THE WEEK AHEAD

KATMANDU : A Royal Key to Vote

November 15, 1994

Four years ago, a pro-democracy revolt ended Nepal's absolute monarchy and made King Birendra constitutional figurehead. Today Nepalese voters go to the polls with more than a few nostalgic thoughts of the old days.

The outgoing Nepali Congress government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is badly riven and seen as corrupt or too pro-Indian by many Nepalese. Inflation is rampant in the remote, landlocked country, one of the world's poorest.

Opposition Communists are expected to make gains in the contest to control the 205-seat Parliament and name a new premier. But it may be the monarchists who hold the balance of power and could swing the decision when the time comes to form a new democratically elected government.

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