22-28 February 2013 #644

Who is in charge?

Top leaders from the four main parties appear to be at a loss about how to convince Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi into accepting the post of Chairman of Election Administrative Council.

Even though the clock is ticking for elections in June, there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency among the parties which spent all day Thursday in internal meetings. They are expected to approach Regmi again on Friday to persuade him that he won’t just be a rubber-stamp leader. Earlier this week, Regmi voiced concern that he would be a mere puppet of the all-party political mechanism. The chief justice is also worried about the resistance among and within the UML, NC, and the fringe parties to his appointment, and the threat by student unions of street protests against him.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai took time Thursday to send out optimistic tweets: ‘It’s good all major political forces are now united to form electoral govt under CJ. We have now to ensure constitutional validity Any Advice?’

Another tweet: ‘Let’s now focus on holding elections by 1stweek of June. Electoral govt under CJ is the last alternative for that purpose. Please no hassles.’ However, election officials say it is already too late to hold elections in June. And it would be impossible if they have to tinker with voter lists and constituencies, or ensure photo-IDs for voters.

Everyone agrees that only fresh elections will get Nepal out of the current impasse. But elections for the sake of elections may not resolve anything, and it would be better to prepare for clean and free voting, even if it is in November.

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