Leaders seek final answer from CJ today
KATHMANDU, Feb 25: The prospect of forming an election government under the leadership of sitting chief justice (CJ) Khil Raj Regmi has become slimmer as the CJ has remained hesitant citing political, constitutional as well legal hurdles.
Sensing this, top leaders from major political forces have decided to seek a final answer from Regmi by Monday on whether it is possible to form a CJ-led election government.
“By tomorrow [Monday], we will take a final decision,” Nepali Congress (NC) Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel told media persons while emerging from the inter-party talks held at the International Convention Center, Baneshwar on Sunday. “We will then discuss other options.” Key leaders from UCPN (Maoist), NC, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) were present during the talks.
According to Paudel, leaders entrusted Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai with confirming the CJ´s position. Asked about the chief justice´s response, Paudel said there was no clear answer yet on whether he would accept the offer. “We will wait until tomorrow to get a clear answer,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, who is also the coordinator of UDMF, said the “CJ now holds the key to everything”. But according to him, Regmi is “in a serious dilemma”.
Gachchhadar also said that election by mid-June is not possible if CJ does not accept the offer to head the government. “If he is not ready to shoulder the responsibility, polls by mid-June is not possible,” he explained.
During the talks, ruling UCPN (Maoist) leaders said CJ remained hesitant citing questions with regard to political commitment and some constitutional as well as legal aspects.
As the Maoist leaders said the chances of Regmi accepting the offer is slim, leaders from NC and UML accused UCPN (Maoist) leaders of floating the proposal to prolong their stay in power and to avoid fresh election.
“Today´s talks indicated that the chances of forming CJ-led government are almost nil,” CPN-UML leader Bhim Rawal told Republica. He said the ruling Maoist leaders should now answer the people.
“UCPN (Maoist) chairman and the prime minister should answer why they floated the proposal without consulting the CJ,” Rawal said after the talks. “We asked them why the CJ rejected the offer if they had talked to him earlier.” He argued that they accepted the proposal even in the face of strong objections from within their parties thinking it may create grounds for elections.
However, ruling Maoist leaders argued that UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai floated the proposal only after getting a green signal from CJ.
“But later, he became hesitant after there were strong protests from within the major political parties against the proposal. Some parties, including the Baidya-led CPN-Maoist, enforced a general strike and even the Nepal Bar Association vehemently opposed the proposal,” a senior UCPN (Maoist) leader told Republica. “These developments were unexpected and he wanted foolproof constitutional as well as legal grounds.”
The leaders have also made up their minds to look for an alternative. “First let us take a final word from CJ by tomorrow,” said NC Vice-president Paudel.
Also, Rawal said that they are for discussing other options after closing the chapter of the proposal of CJ-led government by Monday.