KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Efforts by top leaders from the four major political forces to persuade Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to head the proposed election government couldn´t bear fruit on Wednesday as talks between the leaders and the chief justice ended inconclusively late in the day.
"As we needed to delve into various constitutional, legal as well as political aspects, we couldn´t reach any conclusion today," Nepali Congress (NC) Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel told reporters while emerging from the talks. "We will hold another round of talks before reaching a conclusion."
Paudel did not respond when he was asked repeatedly "whether or not Regmi accepted the parties´ proposal." On reporters questioning him repeatedly, Paudel chose his words carefully, saying the discussions were ongoing given the gravity of the issues.
He said they discussed how to create grounds for new elections for the Constituent Assembly (CA) as the Interim Constitution did not envision the holding of CA polls for a second time.
Top leaders talked to the chief justice as the latter declined to head an election government under the "various conditions" put forth by the parties.
Top leaders from the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), who talked to Regmi at his residence at Baluwatar, tried to allay his concern that the major parties may render him powerless after appointing him head of the election government.
According to a party leader privy to developments, Chief Justice Regmi expressed his ´unwillingness´ to head the proposed election government if the major political parties failed to form the coalition under his leadership through an unanimous decision.
Regmi had conveyed to the prime minister his concern over the differing opinions of senior leaders of major parties regarding a CJ-led government and over the strikes and protests being staged by various political parties against such a government.
CJ Regmi, likewise, expressed reservations over a clause in the nine-point draft proposal prepared by the four major political forces that says a High-Level Political Consultation Committee will oversee the new government´s activities and recommend to the president a name for a new prime minister of an Interim Election Government within 15 days in case of failure to hold the polls on a stipulated date in June.
Sources said Regmi had even questioned the commitment of the political parties to holding the election on the stipulated date and to extending full cooperation to make the election a success. He became hesitant to accept the offer as the parties seemed divided over formation of the CJ-headed government.