Top judge to be sworn in to lead Nepal's government

Published Mar 14, 2013 03:01am

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai (4th L) with the leader of four major political parties join hands in front of the media after signing an agreement to form a government led by chief justice Khilraj Regmi in Kathmandu March 13, 2013. — Photo by Reuters.

KATHMANDU, Nepal: The chief judge of Nepal's Supreme Court will be sworn in on Thursday to lead an interim government that would hold elections in three months, ending an impasse since the last parliament term expired almost a year ago.  

Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha said leaders of the four largest political parties signed the final agreement to appoint Khilraj Regmi as head of the government. Regmi is scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday morning by President Ram Baran Yadav.

The agreement reached late Wednesday night.  The new Cabinet would have 11 members and elections would have to be held by June 21 — the new government's main task.

The vote would choose a new Constituent Assembly to write a constitution and double as the country's parliament.

The assembly elected in May 2008 expired last year after failing to complete the charter because of disagreements among the political parties.

The feuding politicians agreed to appoint Regmi as the head of the government because they could not agree on a choice among themselves.

Since the last assembly tenure ended in May 2012, Baburam Bhattarai, of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), has remained the head of caretaker administration.

Elections set for November 2012 were canceled because of the squabbling.

Regmi, 63, has remained free of controversy in his two years as chief justice, until now.

The Nepal Bar Association and some of the smaller parties have criticized the arrangement as inappropriately mixing law and politics. Some of the opponents have threatened to organize street protests.

Maoist rebels in Nepal fought government troops between 1996 and 2006 until they gave up their armed revolt and joined a peace process that evolved after the Himalayan nation abolished its longstanding monarchy. They emerged as the largest political party in the 2008 Constituent Assembly, but no party got a clear majority.

Four different prime ministers assumed power in the next four years.

Differences among the political parties have been blamed for the delays in the peace process and in the writing of a new constitution for Nepal.


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