NC, Maoists yet to do up portfolio-sharingDespite the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) having a tentative agreement on power-sharing, dividing key ministries has been a tough nut to crack for negotiators on both sides.
Despite the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) having a tentative agreement on power-sharing, dividing key ministries has been a tough nut to crack for negotiators on both sides.
As the NC is all set to keep the Home Ministry along with 12 other ministries and the Maoists handling the Finance Ministry and seven other portfolios, both the parties are staking claim to a few of the so-called lucrative ministries—Foreign, Local Development, Defence, Forest, Education, Law, Energy, and Physical Planning.
“This is a natural phenomenon. Extensive talks to finalise it will begin on Friday. We are ready to forge broad consensus while dividing the ministries,” NC leader Ramesh Lekhak told the Post.
In an attempt to finalise the nitty-gritty of the power-sharing agreement, the two parties have formed a six-member committee to work out a minimum common programme of the new government. The committee comprises Bimalendra Nidhi, Ram Sharan Mahat and Ramesh Lekhak from the NC, and Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Barshaman Pun and Janardan Sharma from the Maoist party.
With one eye on local body elections scheduled to be held by February-March next year, according to the two parties, the Ministry of Local Development has apparently become “highly desirable”. Even though an earlier agreement had the NC taking the ministry, the Maoists are insisting on allowing them to run it for now, a leader said on condition of anonymity.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is another portfolio deemed to grab attention. Like the Local Development Ministry, the NC had earlier staked claim to the foreign affairs office. However, the Maoists are now reluctant to give the ministry to the NC in view of expanding their coalition once the agitating Madhes-based parties agree to join the government. The Maoists see the ministry as “an attractive proposal that the Madhesi forces could be enticed with.”
According to sources, the NC and the Maoists are willing to allocate around six ministries to the Madhes-based forces if they join the government to be led by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. But the Tarai parties are adamant on having their demands tabled in Parliament before they talk about participating in the new government. The Rastriya Prajatantra Party and the CPN (Samyukta), among others, are also almost certain to join the coalition. However, despite the willingness of
the Maoist Centre to include the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, which withdrew its support to the KP Sharma Oli-led government on the eve of the prime minister’s resignation on Sunday, other Tarai-based parties are against the idea.
A week’s time given by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to form a consensus government ends on Monday, after which the formal process to form a majority government begins. The Maoist Centre will run the government for around nine months and hold the local body elections before handing over the leadership to NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba for another nine months to conduct both provincial and federal polls. The new constitution states that all the three elections should be held within the next 18 months.