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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 government 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, deputy prime minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar told reporters.
"We have agreed to form an interim election government under the leadership of the chief justice. We have put him forward him as the common candidate with an immense trust that he would be able to conduct elections," he said.
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 most of the day and will meet Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to offer him the role on Wednesday.
Regmi, whose judicial responsibilities will devolve to his deputy, is expected to be asked to lead a "council of ministers" made up of high-level functionaries until the elections, when he will stand down.
He declined to comment on whether he would agree to the job, saying he would make his decision public on Wednesday.
"The chief justice wants to be assured that the major parties are committed to conducting elections in mid-June before assuming the responsibility of the head of the government," senior Maoist leader Khim Lal Devkota told AFP.
"Top leaders of the major parties will meet with the chief justice to address his concerns. We are hopeful that parties will soon be able to strike an agreement."