Nepal parliament approves new prime minister

Nepal's new prime minister, Puspa Kamal Dahal, has won a formal vote of approval in parliament. He leads one of the country's Communist parties, and appears to favor close ties to China.

Dahal secured almost unanimous support in Tuesday's lower house vote.

Parliamentary elections were held in November, but no party won a majority of seats. That led to negotiations to form a coalition government. The leftist parties reached an agreement, and Dahal was sworn in.

The Himalayan nation shares borders with both China and India. China has been trying to expand its influence through infrastructure and other projects under its Belt and Road initiative to create a huge economic zone.

Dahal has been prime minister twice in the past. He leaned toward China, while the most recent former prime minister was seen as having close ties to India. Balancing relations between the two big powers is a key challenge for the new leader.