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Nepal PM Koirala taken to hospital

By Journalist Suman Pradhan in Kathmandu

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Koirala, 84, has been admitted to hospital.

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KATHMANDU (CNN) -- Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has been rushed to hospital after complaining of chest pains, his nephew said.

The prime minister suffered chest pains at around 7:30 p.m. local time (1:45 p.m GMT) Monday, said Koirala's nephew and senior member of the ruling Nepali Congress party, Dr. Shekhar Koirala.

"He had rigour in his chest, probably due to infection," Dr. Koirala said. "He has been admitted to the Gangalal Heart Centre and is undergoing medical tests."

The prime minister -- a frail 84-year-old chain-smoking former trade union leader -- was admitted to the hospital at 10:30 p.m. local time (4:45 p.m. GMT), Dr. Koirala said.

Asked if the prime minister was in serious condition, Dr. Koirala, a medical practioner said, "if he has been rushed to the hospital, he must be in serious condition."

Koirala only last week returned from Bangkok after a thorough medical check up and treatment. Doctors there warned him to quit smoking, and the prime minister declared upon arrival that he had quit cigarettes.

His illness could potentially throw Nepal's fragile peace process in doubt.

Koirala's ruling Seven Party Alliance (SPA) is currently in delicate negotiations with rebel Maoists who have waged an 11-year violent struggle to establish a republican state in this Himalayan kingdom.

But since late April, both the government and Maoists have been observing a temporary ceasefire as negotiations continue for an interim government and constituent assembly elections, the key elements of the peace process.

The prime minister was scheduled to deliver a key "policy and program" speech in parliament on Tuesday, but the fate of that now is in doubt.

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