Saturday, August 16, 2008

New 24 member cabinet in process of formation

The alliance of three-parties - Maoists, Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) - has reached tentative agreement to form a 24-member cabinet.

Senior Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai while speaking to reporters after a meeting of top leaders of the coalition on Saturday informed about the agreement. According to him, the new cabinet will be named on Monday after Prime Minister Prachanda takes oath of office.

Final decision on power-sharing would be announced tomorrow, he said without revealing which other parties were joining the government.

PM Prachanda, UML general secretary Jhala Nath Khanal, MJF coordinator Upendra Yadav discussed the division of portfolios today, but could not reach any agreement. They will meet again tomorrow.

Earlier, the alliance had reached an understanding according to which nine portfolios would go to CPN-Maoist, six to UML and four portfolios to MJF. Few smaller parties like Janamorcha Nepal, CPN (Marxist Leninist) and CPN (United) are likely to join the government.

Meanwhile, the Maoist central committee meeting, which was to name the members of the new cabinet from the party, could not take place as senior party leaders were busy in meetings over division of portfolios, common minimum programme of the government and the code of conduct for ministers.

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