New Nepal interim government is sworn in

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Security in Kathmandu was tight ahead of Mr Regmi's appointment

The chief judge of Nepal's Supreme Court has been sworn in to lead a new interim government charged with holding elections in three months.

Cross-party agreement on the appointment of Khilraj Regmi has brought an end to an impasse between the four main political parties.

They had been at loggerheads over the issue since the last parliament's term expired almost a year ago.

The deal aims to give Nepal a neutral government to oversee elections.

Lasting peace

BBC regional analyst Joanna Jolly says there has been deep distrust both within and between the political parties, resulting in Nepal being unable to implement a peace deal signed six years ago to end a decade-long civil war.

It is now hoped that elections in June will lead to the writing of a new constitution and help ensure lasting peace.

Mr Regmi will set aside his court duties to take on his new role but will return as chief justice when his tenure leading the government ends.

His title is chairman of the interim election government.

"The priority and the main task of this government is to hold elections," he said. "I urge all the citizens and political parties cooperate in the process so we can complete the task soon."

Nepal's last parliament was elected in 2008. Its term of office expired in May 2012 before it succeeded in its mission to draft a new constitution.

The leader of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Baburam Bhattarai, has been head of a caretaker administration since then, despite opposition from parties who did not want him in office while elections for a new Constituent Assembly were held.

The disagreement meant that elections scheduled for November 2012 were cancelled.

Correspondents say Mr Regmi, 63, had been free of controversy in his two years as chief justice.

But the Nepal Bar Association and some smaller political parties have been critical of the judiciary being drawn into politics.

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