KATHMANDU, Mar 7: The Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), the fifth largest party in parliament, has decided to join the government.
A meeting of the FSFN steering committee on Tuesday unanimously backed party chair Upendra Yadav's proposal to join the government in view of the progress made in talks with the ruling left alliance.
FSFN's decision comes at a time when the Madhes-based party is inching closer to inking a coalition deal with the left alliance comprising UML and CPN (Maoist Center).
During a meeting held at FSFN headquarters in the capital, FSFN Chairman Yadav had briefed party leaders on the achievements made at talks with the left alliance and sought party leaders' views on participation in the government.
Leaders briefed on the issues said the ruling alliance has given unequivocal assurance to revise the constitution to address the concerns of the party. The left alliance, which will have two-thirds majority in parliament if FSFN joins the government, has also pledged to give three ministries to FSFN without specifying portfolios. The party might get just two ministries if another Madhes-based party, the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, joined the government, according to FSFN leaders.
Leaders present at the meeting had unanimously backed the chairman's proposal to participate in the government, said FSFN Co-Chairman Rajendra Shrestha. Shrestha said that the party is yet to reach a clear understanding on power-sharing and portfolios.
"We decided to join the government in the wake of the government's commitment to amend the constitution. Other secondary issues including portfolios would be finalized through further talks," said Shrestha.
FSFN leaders said that the two sides would now hold decisive talks to prepare a draft agreement to join the government. Interlocutors from two sides are expected to hold another round of talks on Wednesday.
Besides demanding three ministries, FSFN has also demanded a deputy prime minister and deputy speaker -- two posts which remain to be finalized.
FSFN insiders said that three parliamentarians including Chairman Yadav, Renu Kumari Yadav and Rajendra Shrestha are the three candidates for ministers.
After a series of discussions, top guns of the UML, Maoist Center and FSFN have already reached an understanding on the wording of the agreement pertaining to constitution amendment.
FSFN and RJPN, which have expressed some reservations over the constitution, have demanded revision of Article 274 to make it easier to redraw provincial boundaries in the future. In addition to that, the party has also demanded that a federal commission be set up permanently to resolve all disputes pertaining to provincial boundaries.