PM expedites negotiations among coalition partners to give full shape to the cabinet

Published On: March 23, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 23: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has intensified negotiations with the coalition partners as he plans to give full shape to the cabinet. 

Prime Minister Dahal, who secured the vote of confidence on Monday, is preparing to give full shape to the cabinet as he currently holds 16 ministries after the CPN-UML, Rastriya Swatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) withdrew from the government. 

A meeting of the top leader of the ruling coalition held at the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar on Wednesday evening held a preliminary discussion on the power-sharing issue among the ruling parties. Top leaders of NC, Maoist Center, CPN (Unified Socialist) and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) are scheduled to meet again on Thursday to finalize the power-sharing deal. 

Along with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, Vice President Purna Bahadur Khadka, CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) Chairman Upendra Yadav attended the meeting.

Sources close to Prime Minister Dahal said the ruling parties have agreed to conclude the power-sharing deal as early as possible to give full shape to the cabinet. The ruling parties have demanded that they discuss power-sharing both in the provincial government and federal governments.

Prime Minister Dahal's aides informed that they will have a clear picture of the power-sharing deal after determining how many parties are likely to join the cabinet. "It has not been decided how many parties will participate in the government," said one of his aides. "Provinces should also be arranged. It is to seek agreement in the package.”

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Dahal had announced to give full shape to the cabinet within four days. But as the number of parties that are likely to join the government has increased, Prime Minister Dahal is finding it difficult to ensure allocation of ministries to all 11 parties that supported him during the vote of confidence in parliament. 

While the NC, the largest party in the House of Representatives, has staked claim for at least eight ministries, the Maoist Center, which is leading the government, currently holds five ministerial portfolios. Similarly, Unified Socialist and JSP have staked claim for three ministries each, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party and Janmat Party two ministries each and Nepal Samajwadi Party and Aam Janata Party have claimed one ministry each.  

NC General Secretary Gagan Thapa has said that it will take a few days to expand the cabinet as it is yet to be determined how many parties want to join the government. "Cabinet expansion is very difficult. There are a few ministries, but there are many parties," he said. "There are many aspirants within the parties as well. That's why it may take a few more days."

NC Chief Whip Ramesh Lekhak, who participated in the meeting, said that there was a preliminary discussion about the expansion of the cabinet. "There has been a preliminary discussion on expanding the government," he said after the meeting.

Lekhak also said that it is yet to be finalized the number and ministries that each party will get in the cabinet. "Discussions have just started today. We are yet to finalize the deal," he said.

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