As the five-party ruling coalition alliance has agreed on sharing Cabinet positions, they have been busy selecting ministerial candidates from respective parties.
According to CPN (Unified Socialist) leader Beduram Bhusal, his party and the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal will share four ministerial portfolios each while the CPN-Maoist Centre will hold six portfolios.
Out of 22 Cabinet positions, Nepali Congress will hold eight seats, including the prime minister’s seat.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur is most likely to expand his Cabinet by Thursday.
The deal on the Cabinet portfolios was reached on Tuesday after Deuba held a meeting with other coalition leaders – Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Upendra Yadav.
Home Affairs; Foreign Affairs; minister of state for health; and law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministries are under NC’s hold whereas CPN-MC holds finance and energy ministries.
Other ministries are up to be shared among other coalition parties.
At present, Janardan Sharma and Pampha Bhusal from CPN-Maoist are Finance Minister and Energy Minister respectively. Similarly, Nepali Congress has Gyanendra Bahadur Karki as Law Minister, Balkrishna Khand as Home Minister, Dr Narayan Khadka as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Umesh Shrestha as the Minister of State for Health.
Deuba is under scrutiny for not being able to give full shape to the Cabinet even after two months in office. Until now there are only six ministers in Deuba’s Cabinet- four from his party, including one minister of state, and two from CPN-MC.
As per constitutional provisions, the Cabinet cannot exceed 25 ministers.
JSP-N lawmaker M Ishtiyak Rayi said his parliamentary party had discussed names to be sent to the Cabinet, but party leadership would take a final call on the names after holding the executive committee meeting.
Deuba was not able to expand the Cabinet as a coalition partner, JSP-N, demanded that the Cabinet should be expanded only after the Political Party Act (Second Amendment) Ordinance was rescinded.
JSP-N had argued that if the Cabinet was expanded without rescinding the ordinance, it could lead to another split in the party.
The ordinance had lowered the threshold for splitting parties from 40 percent support in both the central committee and the parliamentary party to 20 percent support either in the central committee or the parliamentary party.
CPN-UML and the JSP-N suffered split into their parties after the ordinance was issued. The Madhav Kumar Nepal-led CPN (US) and the Mahanta Thakur-led Democratic Socialist Party-Nepal were formed after the ordinance was issued.