UML, Maoist Center expedite negotiations to finalize power-sharing deal in provincial governments
KATHMANDU, Jan 13: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has expedited preparations to expand his cabinet.
Chairman Dahal expedited the preparations after he secured a vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday. In addition to the meetings with other coalition partners, Prime Minister Dahal has intensified negotiations with UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli to give full shape to the cabinet.
While Prime Minister Dahal visited Oli's residence in Balkot on Wednesday, UML Chairman Oli visited the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar on Thursday as a part of their efforts to give full shape to the cabinet.
According to Prime Minister Dahal's Personal Secretariat, Dahal and Oli are scheduled to hold discussions with other coalition partners after finalizing their internal preparations. "The two chairmen will hold discussions within their own party. There will also be information talks with other coalition partners," said a source at Prime Minister Dahal's Secretariat.
Prime Minister Dahal also plans to seek final words if the political parties that supported him during the vote of confidence motion intend to participate in the government. "He will then seek names for the new ministers," he said. All 12 political parties except People’s Front Nepal and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party in parliament had given Dahal a vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday.
Dahal was appointed as prime minister on December 25. He has formed an eight-member cabinet along with three deputy prime ministers. Some of the ministers have not been given ministerial portfolios yet.
As per the provision set in the constitution, Prime Minister Dahal can have a maximum of 25 members in the cabinet. Sources said there has been an agreement to give nine ministerial portfolios to the UML, six to the Maoist Center, two each to Rastriya Swatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party and one ministerial portfolio to the CK Raut-led Janamat Party.
However, the ministerial portfolios to each of these parties are yet to be finalized.
Sources said Prime Minister Dahal plans to give one ministerial portfolio to CPN (Unified Socialist) if the latter decides to join the government. According to party insiders, Dahal has offered the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to the Unified Socialist that has 10 members in the parliament.
Sources said Dahal and Oli also held discussions on the elections of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, President and Vice President. The election for the speaker of the House of Representatives has been scheduled for January 19.
Although a section of UML leaders have expressed concerns that Dahal could breach the agreement reached earlier, Dahal has expressed commitment to honor the agreement. As per the agreement reached earlier, UML will have its candidate elected as president.