Chief Justice sworn in as Nepal PM,polls by June 21

Supreme Court Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi was on Thursday sworn in as Nepal’s new prime minister,replacing Baburam Bhattarai as the consensus candidate of four major political parties

Written by Yubaraj Ghimire | Kathmandu | Published:March 15, 2013 1:39 am

Supreme Court Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi was on Thursday sworn in as Nepal’s new prime minister,replacing Baburam Bhattarai as the consensus candidate of four major political parties.

The government has been entrusted with the responsibility to hold elections to the constituent assembly by June 21,but it may be deferred up to mid-November if case of “situations out of control”.

Regmi will be heading an 11-member electoral government. He was administered the oath of office by President Ram Baran Yadav in the morning after top leaders of four parties — Nepali Congress,United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists),Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front — reached an 11-point understanding following a 13-hour marathon meeting that continued till Wednesday midnight. Prime Minister Regmi administered the oath of office to other two ministers,Madhav Kumar Ghimire and Hari Prasad Neupane,in the first round.

The rest of the eight ministers will be nominated by the four political parties. According to the agreement,all the ministers will have to be retired civil servants belonging to the special class (joint secretary and above) and no active politician will be included in the cabinet.

Chief Justice Regmi’s swearing-in came barely two hours before the Supreme Court was to take up two cases challenging the appointment of an incumbent chief justice concurrently as the prime minister,in “contravention” of the principle of separation of powers.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court however,deferred the hearing by a week.

Along with Regmi’s appointment,the four parties also cleared the deck for forming the long-pending Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate cases of human rights violation by the state as well as Maoists during the decade-long insurgency with the provision that there will be general amnesty granted to gross human rights violation.

Followers of 18 political parties,including the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists),meanwhile held a protest demonstration outside the President’s office,claiming that entrusting executive responsibility to the head of the judiciary will amount doing away with the multi-party system.

The group that has vowed to “dislodge” Regmi from power said they would chart out their future course of action.

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