Major coalition partners reach agreement on ministerial allocationUnhappy with its share, Janata Samajbadi Party says it will not join the government immediately.
A month after CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal got appointed as prime minister, top leaders of the ruling coalition have agreed on ministerial allocations. With this development the Dahal-led Cabinet will be expanded on Tuesday.
A meeting of the chiefs of four ruling parties—the CPN (Maoist Centre), the CPN-UML, the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), and the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP)—held at the prime minister’s residence at Baluwatar on Monday reached the power-sharing deal. However, the JSP has expressed reservations over the ministerial allocations and decided not to send its ministers immediately.
As per the agreement, the largest party in the coalition, the UML, will get a total of eight ministers along with two ministers of state; the CPN (Maoist Centre), which is leading the government, will get five ministries including the prime minister; and the Rastriya Swatantra Party and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party will get three ministries each along with one deputy prime minister each.
The RSP will lead the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, and will also get one state minister. The party already has its chairman Rabi Lamichhane as deputy prime minister and home minister.
From the RPP, its chairman Rajendra Lingden will join the government as deputy prime minister and energy, water resources and irrigation minister.
Besides finance, the UML will get foreign, health, defence, agriculture and land management, among other ministries. But, according to a leader who was present at the meeting, there could be last minute changes in ministerial allocations before the swearing-in ceremony, which is scheduled for 1 am Tuesday.
After Monday’s meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane said the ruling coalition partners have finalised the ministerial allocations. But he did not disclose which parties got what ministries.
“We will make the names public only after discussing today’s decision in our respective parties,” Lamichhane told journalists after the meeting at Baluwatar, adding that the President’s Office has already been informed about the swearing-in ceremony.
When asked if the Nagarik Unmukti Party and Loktantrik Samajbadi Party would also be joining the government anytime soon, he said, “It is unlikely that they will join immediately, but discussions are ongoing.”
According to him, the prime minister has called an all-party meeting for 4 pm Tuesday.
JSP Chairman Upendra Yadav, however, said his party will not join the government now because it is not happy with the ministries offered to the party. “We have expressed our dissatisfaction over the power sharing deal,” he said.
Dahal, who was appointed the prime minister on December 25, was administered the oath of office and secrecy on the next day along with three deputy prime ministers and four ministers.
Among three deputy prime ministers, UML’s Bishnu Poudel leads the Finance Ministry, Maoist Centre’s Narayan Kaji Shrestha leads Physical Infrastructure and Transportation and RSP’s Rabi Lamichhane the Home Ministry. However, the four ministers—three from the UML including Rajendra Rai, Jwala Kumari Sah and Damodar Bhandari, and Janamat Party’s Abdul Khan—have not yet been assigned portfolios.