KATHMANDU, Sept 23: A meeting of the top leaders of the ruling parties on Wednesday ended inconclusively as the coalition partners could not agree on a power sharing deal in the new cabinet. The top leaders are expected to sit again today to finalize the deal.
Amid criticism over the inordinate delay in the expansion of cabinet, top leaders of the coalition partners gathered in Baluwatar to finalize the allocation of ministerial portfolios among the coalition partners. The meeting failed to make any concrete agreement as the party leaders remained adamant on their own stance on various issues including the ordinance related to political parties, expansion of the cabinet and sharing of the ministerial portfolios.
The meeting discussed the ordinance introduced by the government to ease the split of political parties and the agreement to table a substitution bill in parliament to replace it. Leaders of the Janata Samajbadi Party demanded that the ordinance be repealed altogether.
The leaders maintained that it would not be possible to expand the cabinet and they would not participate until the ordinance is repealed. CPN (Maoist Center) Spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara, on the other hand, claimed that the cabinet would be expanded on Thursday. He claimed that a substitution bill to replace the ordinance will be introduced in the House of Representatives and then JSP will also give names of leaders who will join the government from their party.
However, the meeting of the top leaders failed to agree on the sharing of the ministerial portfolios. Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is also the Prime Minister, is preparing to keep at least seven ministries with the NC.
The Maoists have also demanded an almost equal number of ministries. Sources claim that the CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) have also demanded the same number of ministries as the NC and the Maoists. The source said that the Maoists have been offered seven ministries, the CPN (Unified Socialist) six and the JSP a maximum of five ministries. “This is why no agreement could be reached,” the source added.