Calls on the agitating parties to support the elections
Chief Justice Khila Raj Regmi was sworn in by President on Thursday as the head of interim government mandated to hold elections for a new Constituent Assembly by June 21. Mr. Regmi then administered the oath of office to two members of his Cabinet.
The appointment came as a part of the package deal between four parties — Nepali Congress, United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist Leninist and United Democratic Madhesi Front. Late Wednesday night, they struck a deal on several issues related to peace process, citizenship and voter rolls.
Baburam Bhattarai, who vacated the Prime Minister’s residence having served 18 months and 18 days in office, said: “The elections should not be postponed at any cost”. He blamed the President’s lack of co-operation as the reason elections could not be held in November, the date he had announced minutes before Nepal’s last Constituent Assembly-cum-Parliament expired on May 27, 2012.
Parties opposed to Mr. Regmi’s appointment, including the breakaway Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist, were quick to hit the street, bringing transport to a halt in many parts of the country. The Nepal Bar Association called Thursday a “black day” in judicial history and urged Mr. Regmi to resign as Chief Justice.
Mr. Regmi has called on the agitating parties to support the elections. A Cabinet meeting held in the afternoon decided to curtail government expenditure and facilitate supply of petrol, a choice of decisions which raised a few eyebrows.
“The first priority for Mr. Regmi should be the election commission, not the supply of petroleum,” commented Mr. Devendra Raj Panday, a former minister and bureaucrat.