KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is preparing to form a 26-member Cabinet, with five ministers each from the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front and five representing fringe political parties.
Though Prime Minister Bhattarai had called on parties to send names as soon as possible, the parties failed to do so, saying they were busy holding internal discussions. The parties are expected to send names by tomorrow.
NC and UML are grappling with their internal problems. NC remained undecided today after senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba-led faction demanded that party President Sushil Koirala settle internal disputes before sending names. Likewise, UML was a divided house over whether to join the Bhattarai-led government or not. UML saw a sharp rift in its central committee today after as many as seven CC members stood strongly against the five-point deal reached among parties yesterday.
Bhattarai had requested parties to decide names by today, aiming at an oath-taking ceremony tomorrow, some time around 5:00pm, according to sources close to the prime minister. The five-point deal has it that a unity government under Bhattarai will be formed in two days.
“We, the Congress and UML, are engaged in internal discussions. We will send names by tomorrow. The prime minister will form a new Cabinet at around 5:00pm tomorrow,” said NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula after a meeting of four major political forces called by the prime minister at his residence in Baluwatar this evening. “A new Cabinet will be formed even if the parties fail to send all five names tomorrow,” said sources close to the prime minister.
UML leader Madhav Nepal said his party would decide tomorrow whether his party would join the government. “Discussion on unity government is under way. We will decide by tomorrow afternoon,” he said after today’s meeting with the prime minister.
Deuba to meet Koirala
KATHMNDU: Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala and Vice-president Ramchandra Paudel on Friday phoned senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and asked him to send names from his faction for the to-be-formed unity government. But Deuba, according to sources, refused to oblige, saying he wanted the leaders to solve the party’s internal problems first. The Deuba faction has been boycotting the party’s Central Working Committee meeting for the last few months. However, in a sign of reconciliation, at least for now, the trio have scheduled a meeting for Saturday, said sources. Koirala and Deuba on Friday held separate meetings with leaders of their factions.
CA meet put off
KATHMANDU: A meeting of the Constituent Assembly scheduled for Friday, which was supposed to vote on disputed issues, was postponed till May 8 after the four major political forces sought three more days to reach consensus. As per the five-point agreement reached among parties on Thursday, the CA Business Advisory Committee meeting adjourned Friday’s CA meeting till May 8, allowing three more days for the parties to find consensus on key constitutional issues.
Shrestha, Bogati to get jobs back
KATHMANDU: A standing committee meeting of the Unified CPN-Maoist today decided to re-send outgoing ministers Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Post Bahadur Bogati to the national consensus government to be formed under party Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai.
Today’s meeting was boycotted by those standing committee members who are close to the radical faction of the party led by senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidhya.
Maoist Vice-chairman Shrestha was Deputy PM and foreign minister while secretary Bogati was energy minister in the Bhattarai-led coalition government.
Sources claimed that Bhattarai proposed the names of the two outgoing ministers to join his new Cabinet at today’s standing committee meeting held at Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s residence in Lazimpat. As per the five-point deal struck last night, a unity government will be formed within two days under Bhattarai’s leadership. According to the understanding a 21-member Cabinet with the participation of four representatives each from the four political forces and four from fringe parties was to be formed. However, a meeting of the four major political forces — the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front — today decided to form a 26-member Cabinet with five ministers each from UCPN-M, NC, UML and UDMF and five from fringe parties. The agreement has it that Bhattarai will resign before May 27 in order to facilitate the formation of a new unity government led by NC.
The meeting today decided to retain Shrestha and Bogati with their previous portfolios.