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Maoists cabinet expansion halted, forms panel

Last Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 00:19

Kathmandu: With Nepal`s new Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai unable to expand his two-member cabinet due to differences over portfolio distribution, the ruling Maoist party has formed a panel to work out a compromise among rival factions of the party and with alliance partners.

The high-level panel comprising Maoist Chairman Prachanda, senior vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Bhattarai was formed after a meeting of the party`s Standing Committee, a Maoist spokesperson said.

Bhattarai is facing difficulty in expanding his two-member cabinet due to pressure from his own party colleagues and the Madhesi parties, whose support was crucial for his victory during the Prime Ministerial run-off on Sunday, party sources said.
The Prime Minister has agreed to allocate 11 cabinet rank ministers and two deputy Prime Ministers for the Madhesi parties, who have a combined strength of 84 in Parliament, they said.

However, his party men have been pressing for at least a deputy Prime Minister`s portfolio and important cabinet portfolios including Finance.

The Madhesi parties have demanded Communication, Defence and Industry portfolio besides having got appointed Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar as Deputy Prime Minister with the portfolio of Home, causing further delay in the cabinet expansion.
If everything goes well, then a small cabinet will be announced on Thursday, sources close to the Madhesi parties said.

The second largest party Nepali Congress and the third largest CPN-UML have already decided to sit in the opposition bench.

The Maoists had held a series of meetings since yesterday to decide power sharing among the party`s rank and file.

The party`s high body has finally authorised the powerful troika to make the final decision regarding power sharing including nominating a person from within the ranks to the Deputy Prime Minister`s post.


First Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 00:19
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