CABINET EXPANSION LIKELY AFTER TALKS WITH MASHES-CENTRIC PARTIES
KATHMANDU, Feb 23: The CPN-UML standing committee meeting held at prime minister’s official residence, Baluwatar on Friday has handed over the responsibility of finalizing the names of ministers to Prime Minister K P Oli.
Now, Prime Minister Oli will hold talks with Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) before deciding the final list in bid to bring Madhes-centric parties into government.
Meanwhile, FSFN and RJPN also look positive to participate in the Oli-led government given that UML becomes ready to amend the constitution.
The left alliance has the majority to form government under its leadership. But if the Madhes-centric parties agree to participate in the government, Oli-led government will have two-third majority support.
Oli will also hold discussions with CPN (Maoist Center) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal about the possibilities of inviting FSFN and RJPN to the government, according to party secretary Yogesh Bhattarai.
Oli, therefore, is likely to expand the cabinet only after consulting with the three parties, said Bhattarai.
Earlier on Friday, a meeting of the council of ministers decided to reduce the number or ministries from 18 to 17, excluding the office of prime minister. The two ruling parties have already agreed to allocate the ministerial portfolios on 60:40 ratio. As per the understanding, UML will get 10 ministries out of 17 while Maoist Center will take the rest. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has already inducted two ministers into his cabinet from UML.
The standing committee meeting has also decided to halt all the conventions of its lower committees and sister organisations in view of facilitating the ongoing unification process.
Likewise, the meeting also approved the seven-point party unification agreement struck on February 19 as a positive basis for the unification of the UML and the Maoist Center.
Prime Minister, before the standing committee meeting, also celebrated his 67th birthday Friday morning by cutting a cake at his official residence in Baluwatar. Indian Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri and Chinese Ambassador Yu Hong had also reached Baluwatar to extend birthday wishes to Oli.