Nepal PM expands cabinet, Maoist leader new FM

Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai expanded his cabinet, including senior Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha as the deputy premier and foreign minister.

Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Sunday expanded his cabinet, including senior Maoist
leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha as the deputy premier and foreign
minister, after days of haggling over ministerial berths among
the former rebels and its key Madhesi partners.

57-year-old Bhattarai, who assumed office on Monday,
included six ministers from his United Communist Party of
Nepal-Maoist and seven from United Democratic Madhesi Front
(UDMF), the five parties Madhesi alliance, whose support was
crucial in getting a majority in Prime Ministerial polls on
August 28.

India-educated Bhattarai had earlier appointed Madhesi
leader Bijaya Gachhadar as deputy Prime Minister and Home

With the election of Bhattarai as Nepal`s new prime
minister, the former rebels returned to power after 27 months
after the Terai-based Madhesi alliance extended crucial
support to end the political uncertainty plaguing the country.

Jhal Nath Khanal resigned as the prime minister on August
14 for failing to make "concrete" progress in the peace

The parliament, which was formed in 2008 after a
popular election, has failed to fulfill its main function to
push forward the peace process and draft a new constitution.

Averting a major constitutional crisis, Nepalese
lawmakers on August 29 approved the extension of the term of
the interim parliament by three months.

Prime Minister Bhattarai administered oath of office and
secrecy to the new ministers in the presence of President Dr.
Ram Baran Yadav in a grand ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan in
the capital.

Senior Maoist leaders Barsha Man Pun was made the Finance
Minister while Posta Bahadur Bogati got the Energy portfolio.

Leader of the Madhesi Peoples Right Forum (Republican),
Jaya Prakash Gupta was made the Minister for Information and
Communication while Nandan Dutta got the Agriculture
portfolio. Rajendra Mahato from the Sadbhawana Party is the
new Health Minister.


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