National

Cabinet expansion on Monday, says Dahal

- Post Report, Chitwan

Feb 25, 2018-CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the Cabinet will be expanded on Monday.

Talking to journalists at Bharatpur Airport on Saturday, the Maoist chief said preparations were under way to administer the oath to new ministers on Monday.

“I had a discussion with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on the matter this morning. It’s almost sure that all the ministers will be sworn in at 3pm on Monday,” he said.

Dahal, who is two-time former prime minister, said the names of ministers would be decided by Sunday evening. He denied that there was a dispute in the party over the ministerial candidates.

“There is no dispute at all,” said Dahal. “Let me urge the media to cover only official statements.” He explained that Cabinet expansion was delayed as some issues needed to be resolved in consultation with the CPN-UML. There would be both new and old faces in the Council of Ministers.

On Friday, the Cabinet decided to cut down the number of ministries from 31 to 18, including the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

The ministries that will remain are Home Affairs; Finance; Foreign Affairs; Defence; Physical Infrastructure and Transport; Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; and Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Ministries that were formed after merging two or more ministries are Federal Affairs and General Administration; Communi-cation and Information Technology; Education, Science and Technology and Youth and Sports; Health and Population; Water Resources and Energy; Industry, Commerce and Supplies; Drinking Water and Urban Development; Forest and Environment; Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperation; and Labour, Employment, Women and Children.

A three-member Cabinet was formed when Oli was appointed the prime minister on February 15 with the backing of the Maoist Centre.

Madhes-based parties, especially the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, have expressed their readiness to join the Cabinet but the government has not formally approached them for talks.

“Once the government is ready to address our major concern, all other issues could be finalised gradually through discussion,” said SSF-N Chair Upendra Yadav, adding that their major concern was amendment to the constitution.

Published: 25-02-2018 07:44

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