Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi appointed Nepal’s new Prime Minister

Nepal's newly appointed Prime Minister Khil Raj Regmi assuming his office Thursday. Nepal's political parties agreed to appoint Chief justice Regmi as the chairman of the Interim Election Council of Ministers after an exercise of three weeks.

Kathmandu: Holding marathon meetings lasting over three weeks the key four political parties of Nepal have succeeded to form an election government under the leadership of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi.

With the appointment of Regmi as the chairman of the interim election council of ministers, the nine-month political deadlock has virtually ended in this tiny Himalayan Country.

The new government is entrusted to hold the elections to the new Constituent Assembly by June 21.

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav Thursday administered the oath of office and secrecy to Regmi as the chairman of the interim election government amidst a special function organised at the Shital Niwas Office of the President.

On the same occasion, the chairman of the newly formed interim election government administered the oath of office and secrecy to former chief secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire as Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Foreign Affairs. Similarly, former government secretary Hari Prasad Neupane was sworn-in as the Minister for Law and Justice and Minister for Labour and Transport Management.

Although the parties had agreed to form an 11-member election government consisting of only retired bureaucrats, only a three-member cabinet was formed Thursday.

The four political parties (Nepali Congress, UCPN-Maoist, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front) which were sharply divided following the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on 27 May last year struck a deal to appoint non –political personality as the chief of the executive on Wednesday night.

Incumbent Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had dissolved the Assembly when the parties were divided over the issue of federalism. The UCPN-Maoist and the UDMF were in power since October 2011.

The political parties had resorted to give and take game during the week-long negotiations. The Maoists who were in power for the last 17 months agreed to appoint Regmi as the head of the government when the main opposition parties—Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) agreed to give the post of colonel to the ex-combatants of the Maoists integrated in the national army. However, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachnada’ had first floated the idea of appointing the Chief Justice to the post of Prime Minister.

Sixty three –year-old Regmi is the first Chief justice of Nepal to be appointed the head of the government.

Born in Palpa in Western Nepal, Regmi has been in the judiciary for the last 40 years and he was appointed to the post of Chief Justice in 2011.

Regmi assumed his office from Thursday.

The first meeting of Cabinet held after the swearing-in ceremony appealed all the political parties to take part in the election to the Constituent Assembly (CA).

Home Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Ghimire making the decisions of the first cabinet meeting public, he said that the present government was committed to conduct the election in a fair and healthy environment. The government appealed to all political parties, journalists, civil society members to create conducive environment for CA election.

The cabinet meeting made it clear that the new government would strongly uphold the principle of power separation and protect human rights.

Fringe parties, including the break-away fraction of the ruling Maoists, and the lawyers have strongly opposed the appointment of Chief Justice to the post of Prime Ministers. They claimed Regmi’s appointment have undermined the party system and violated the principle of power separation.

The angry parties called a five-hour strike in Kathmandu after Regmi’s was sworn in bringing the vehicular movement to a grinding halt in the capital city.

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