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Nepal parties agree on new interim PM

Major parties agree on interim government led by chief justice Khilraj Regmi as Maoist party calls general strike.
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2013 11:29
Nepal has been without a fully functioning government and parliament since last May[EPA]

Nepal's major political parties have agreed to form an interim government led by a supreme court chief justice, and to hold elections in June, in an attempt to end the deadlock that has left the nation without a fully functioning government since last year.

The parties want chief justice Khilraj Regmi to chair the council, replacing Maoist prime minister Beburam Bhattarai as head of the interim government until the upcoming elections.

"We agreed on a package deal in which all major parties' concerns were addressed. The prime minister will recommend the chief justice as his successor at a meeting with the president later today."

- Bimalendra Nidhi, senior Nepali Congress politician

"The four major parties have agreed to appoint the chief justice as a head of the interim government which will hold elections by mid-June," said Bimalendra Nidhi, a senior Nepali Congress politician.

"We agreed on a package deal in which all major parties' concerns were addressed. The prime minister will recommend the chief justice as his successor at a meeting with the president later today."

The agreement is expected to be formally signed at the meeting later on Tuesday, where they would also finalise the election date and the makeup of the new council of ministers.

General strike

The CPN-Maoist party called for a general strike in protest against the decision to appoint Regmi as supervisor of the new government. Transportation, educational institutions and normal life have been crippled as a result.

Nepal has been without a fully functioning government and parliament since last May.

Prime minister Beburam Bhattarai has been running a caretaker government. Bhattarai's government has been unable to hold elections, with opposition parties wanting Bhattarai removed before a vote is held.

Nepal emerged from 10 years of civil war in 2006, but lawmakers elected to write a new constitution failed to reach consensus on the charter amid a series of shaky coalition administrations.

Parliament was dissolved in May last year.

It was not clear how the head of the judiciary would also be given the task of executive head, but the leaders said they would seek to amend the interim constitution.

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