KATHMANDU, Sept 23: At a time when he is already courting serious controversy back home for forming the largest-ever cabinet, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has hinted at expanding the cabinet even further.
Speaking at the Columbia University World Leaders Forum in New York on Thursday, Prime Minister Deuba said that up to 60-member cabinet, given the number of incumbent lawmakers, could be formed as per the Constitution of Nepal.
Answering how could defend the already large-sized cabinet, Deuba said that his cabinet is within the size ceiling allowed by the constitution.
Deuba said that the Constitution of Nepal allows a cabinet size that is up to 10 percent of the total number of parliamentarians. Currently, there are 595 lawmakers in the cabinet and going by Deuba's reasoning, the size of the cabinet could go up to the 60 members.
Deuba is in New York for attending the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Deuba’s cabinet has courted criticisms from various squatters for being the largest in the history of Nepal.
Deuba government has three deputy prime ministers, 26 ministers and 26 state ministers. Deuba's remarks come at a time when he plans to induct at least one additional cabinet minister and one state minister, as the ministerial portfolio of Peace and Reconstruction is still lying vacant.
Although the constitution has a provision not to exceed 25 ministers in the cabinet, each successive government after the promulgation of the new constitution in September 2015 has been violating the provision. They argue that the provision is meant to be effective only after the federal parliament is in place.
Prime Minister Deuba had courted controversy for forming the largest-ever cabinet in his second stint as prime minister back in 1996. While KP Oli had formed a 40-member cabinet, his successor Pushpa Kamal Dahal had formed a 41-member cabinet, flouting the provision made by new constitution promulgated in September, 2017