Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday expanded his Cabinet by inducting 17 ministers and two ministers of state from the five-party ruling alliance, three months after he assumed office. With this, the government’s strength has now reached 25, including 22 ministers and three ministers of state.
Earlier, there were only six members in the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister and one state minister. Nepal’s Constitution allows only 25 Cabinet ministers.
Prime Minister Deuba was unable to expand his Cabinet due to prolonged power sharing negotiations among the five-party ruling alliance.
The newly appointed ministers took oath of office and secrecy at the President’s office shortly after they were appointed at the recommendation of Prime Minister Deuba.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered oath to the newly appointed ministers, while Prime Minister Deuba did the same to the two ministers of state at the president’s office in the presence of the president.
According to the Kathmandu Post newspaper, the new appointments were possible after ruling coalition partners reached a power-sharing deal.
Five ministers have been inducted from newly formed CPN-Unified Socialist, four ministers and one minister of state from Madhes-based Janata Socialist Party and 5 ministers and one minister of state from CPN-Maoist Centre led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”.
Similarly, Nepali Congress led by Deuba got eight ministers and one minister of state, according to sources at the President’s Office.
Bal Krishna Khand of Nepali Congress has retained the portfolio of Home, while Narayan Khadka of the same party has retained the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Kadhka was last month appointed as the Foreign Minister by President Bhandari.
Similarly, Minendra Rijal and Gyanendra Bahadur Karki of Nepali Congress have got the ministries of Defence and Information and Communication respectively.
Birodh Khatiwada of CPN-Unified Socialist has been appointed as Minister for Health and Population.
Janardan Sharma of CPN-Maoist Centre has retained the ministry of Finance.
The five-party ruling coalition includes Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) and CPN (Maoist Centre).
Deuba had been facing widespread criticism for failing to expand his Cabinet, three months after he took over as the Prime Minister, the Kathmandu Post reported on Friday.
Deuba took the oath of office and secrecy on July 13 for a record fifth time, a day after a five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives for the second time in five months.
Deuba, who secured 165 votes in the 275-member House, will remain in office for the next one and half years, until a fresh parliamentary election is held.
The lower house was unconstitutionally dissolved by President Bhandari for the second time in five months on May 22 at the recommendation of then Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.