Top judge sworn-in as Nepal Prime Minister

Kathmandu: Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi was on Thursday sworn-in as Nepal’s new Prime Minister to head an interim government that will hold elections on June 21, ending months of political and constitutional crisis in the country.

Regmi, 63, was sworn in as the head of interim election government as a part of the eleven-point deal reached among three major parties and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on Wednesday during a marathon meeting to form an election government. President Rambaran Yadav administered oath of office and secrecy to Regmi at a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Later, Regmi administered oath of office to two new ministers appointed to the cabinet headed by him. Madhav Ghimire was given the portfolio of Home and Foreign Affairs whereas Hari Prasad Neupane got the portfolio of Law and Justice and Labour, the President’s office said.

The major parties yesterday agreed on four key issues among others: forming a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for providing transitional justice, giving one Colonel and two Lt Colonel posts to the Maoist combatants integrated into the Nepal Army, updating voters’ list before the Constituent Assembly elections and resolve issues relating to citizenship certificate distribution.

The top leaders of the major political parties who signed the deal include Maoist chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal and senior Madhesi leader and representative of Joint Democratic Madhesi Front Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar.

The parties have also agreed to conduct new election on June 21 by clearing all the legal hurdles. They have, however, agreed to differ the election date till mid-December in case situation does not favour for holding polls in June. This will be for the first time in Nepalese political history that a sitting Chief Justice is being named as the Head of the Government. The appointment of Regmi ends an impasse since the last parliament’s term expired almost a year ago. Elections set for November 2012 were cancelled because of the political infighting.

Talking to PTI after the swearing-in ceremony, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala said the formation of the national election government led by the Chief Justice would not only pave the way to resolve the current political stalemate but also help to strengthen democracy in the country.

Conducting election is very important at this moment as fresh mandate will safeguard democracy and ensure people’s participation, he pointed out. (PTI)

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