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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

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


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