Ruling parties ‘seal a deal’ to give full shape to the cabinet

Published On: January 17, 2023 09:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 16: The ruling parties have reached closer to an agreement to give full shape to the cabinet led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

The agreement was reached after a series of meetings between the top leadership of the CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN-UML. Sources said the two parties have made a tentative understanding to allocate one ministry to each eight lawmakers of the party.

As per the agreement, the UML will get eight cabinet ministers and two state ministers. The UML has a total 79 lawmakers in parliament. 

While UML lawmaker Bishnu Poudel has already secured the posts of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, three other UML ministers are yet to get their ministerial portfolios so far due to the inability of the parties to reach agreement on power-sharing deal.

As per the agreement, the CPN (Maoist Center), which heads the government, will get four cabinet ministers and one state minister. While Maoist Center Vice Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha has already been appointed as Deputy Prime Minister with the ministerial portfolio of Physical Planning and Transport Management, the ministerial portfolios of other Maoist ministers has not been settled yet.

A senior Maoist Center leader involved in the negotiation said Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), which has 20 members in parliament, will get three ministerial portfolios. While the party President Rabi Lamichhane has already been appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, the party is likely to take the Ministry of Health and Population and Ministry of Youths and Sports. 

While Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) will get two ministerial portfolios including Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Janata Samajbadi Party will get two ministries including Ministry of Urban Development as per the power-sharing deal. The ruling Maoist Center and the UML have agreed to give one ministry each to Janamat Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party and Loktantrik Samajbadi Party. 

As per the constitutional arrangement, Prime Minister Dahal will be able to have a maximum of 25 members in cabinet. The prime minister will be short of one ministry while allocating the ministerial portfolios to all the ruling parties. 

But as it is still uncertain if Nagarik Unmukti Party will join the new government with one ministry, Prime Minister Dahal is hoping that the Maoist Center will not have to forgo a ministry to provide ministry to all the ruling parties.

Senior leaders of UML and Maoist Center claimed that they have already reached a final agreement to share ministerial portfolios. "This is almost the final agreement reached among the ruling parties. This has now paved the way to expand the cabinet," said a Maoist Centre leader.

Prime Minister Dahal on December 26 formed an eight-member cabinet including three deputy prime ministers. Bishnu Paudel of UML, Narayankaji Shrestha of Maoist Center and Rabi Lamichhane of Rastriya Swatantra Party have been appointed as deputy prime ministers in the Dahal-led cabinet. Similarly, four ministers appointed earlier include Jwala Kumari Shah, Damodar Bhandari, Rajendra Rai  from UML and Abdul Khan from the Janamat Party. 

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