Nepal’s PM to quit ahead of June polls
Agence France-Presse in Kathmandu
Nepal’s prime minister has agreed to resign to make way for the chief justice to lead the politically deadlocked country into elections by June this year, the main opposition party said on Tuesday.
Baburam Bhattarai will submit his resignation to the president after the nation’s four largest parties ended a protracted stalemate by agreeing to form a unity government headed by the country’s top judge, the Nepali Congress said.
“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,” Bimalendra Nidhi, a senior Nepali Congress politician, said.
“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.”
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.
The Himalayan nation has since been run by a caretaker Maoist-led coalition which lacked the popular mandate to make important policy decisions beyond the day-to-day running of public institutions.
The leaders of the country’s four major parties were locked in negotiations on the structure of the new administration and parliament ahead of an expected announcement of Bhattarai’s resignation later Tuesday.
The premier’s spokesman said the Maoist party would not be commenting until the meeting had concluded.
Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, whose judicial responsibilities will devolve to his deputy, is expected to lead a “council of ministers” made up of high-level functionaries until the elections, when he will stand down.