Nepal`s cabinet expansion put off
Last Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011, 00:08
Kathmandu: Nepalese Premier Jhala Nath Khanal's CPN-UML today failed to strike a power-sharing deal with Maoists apparently over the issue of key portfolios of Home and Foreign demanded by the former rebels, delaying the expansion of his four-member cabinet indefinitely.

Khanal was expected to expand his new cabinet today but the tussle over the power sharing issue continued between the two Left parties.

The CPN-UML has now formed a team comprising Khanal, senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Ishwor Pokharel and K P Sharma Oli to start fresh negotiations with the Maoists and other political parties following a high level meeting, according to the party's sources.

On the other hand the Maoists decided not to join the government immediately. They are demanding key portfolios including Home and Foreign.

Though, Prime Minister Khanal had earlier assured Maoist chief Prachanda that he would give them Home and other key portfolios, the decision was opposed by his own party colleagues.

At the moment there are only three ministers besides the Prime Minister in Khanal's cabinet.

Senior UML-leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari has been given the portfolio of Finance with Deputy Prime Minister's position while other two members of the cabinet Bishnu Poudyal and Ganga Lal Tuladhar are without portfolios even a week after their appointment due to the tussle between the two largest communist parties over power sharing.

Reports had said yesterday that Khanal appeared to have reached an understanding with the Maoists over sharing of government ministries, with indications that the former rebels may get 11 portfolios in the new cabinet, including Home and Foreign Affairs.

The CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoists were sparring over power sharing for over 11 days when the new prime minister was sworn in, making it impossible for the government to function.

Earlier, the Maoists had threatened that they would not join the government if the seven-point agreement reached between the two top leaders prior to Khanal's election, is not implemented.


First Published: Friday, February 18, 2011, 00:08

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