Ruling parties near power-sharing deal

- Post Report, Kathmandu
After the UML agreed to give the Vice Presidentand Speaker posts to the Maoists, the latter gave up its claim to Prez position

Oct 14, 2015-Two coalition partners CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) on Tuesday finalised a tentative framework for sharing ministerial berths and vital positions such as President, Vice President and the Speaker.

Multiple sources said the UML leadership has agreed to allocate eight ministerial posts to the UCPN (M) including the Home Ministry with a deputy prime minister position. After the UML agreed to give the Vice President and Speaker to the Maoists, the party gave up its claim to the top post, according to leaders from both the parties.

“The Maoists have demanded either the President, or the Vice President and Speaker. They could settle for Vice President and Speaker,” said UML leader Gokarna Bista.

Maoist sources said though Prime Minister KP Oli has okayed eight ministries for the Maoists, a section of UML leaders including Madhav Nepal do not agree. Leaders close to Nepal are of the view that the Maoist party should not get such a large number of ministries along with the Vice President and Speaker posts.

The Maoists are likely to get the ministries of Local Development, Forest, General Administration, Health or Education, and Energy or Tourism.

There has also been an understanding with the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik about the parties getting three ministries each. The RPP-Nepal will also get the deputy Speaker’s post.

As per the understanding, the UCPN (M) will support the UML candidate in the presidential election slated to be held shortly after Dashain. Similarly, the UML will support the election of a Maoist candidate as the House Speaker later this week.

The Maoist Standing Committee is likely to finalise the list of ministers from the party on Wednesday.

“The candidate for Vice President and Speaker will also be finalised at the meeting,” said leader Agni Sapkota, who is close to Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. For the Vice President post, the party will await the UML decision of its presidential candidate due to the constitutional provision to share the vital positions between a male and a female.

Maoist chair Dahal is keen to recommend Krishna Bahadur Mahara as the Speaker candidate, but the latter is interested in becoming a minister or taking an important responsibility in the party. Though the ruling coalition has agreed in the numbers, they have not finalised the ministerial portfolios. Leaders hope an agreement on the matter by Wednesday.

Maoist leader Haribol Gajurel has already joined the government as the agriculture minister. Possible names of Maoist ministers include Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Agni Sapkota, Rekha Sharma and Nanda Kishor Pun. Rayamajhi is likely to lead the party in the government as a DPM. With MJF-L Chairman Bijaya Gachhadar leading the Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, the party will get two more ministries. Party leader Jitendra Narayan Dev said it had not been decided which other ministries the party would get to head.

Leaders involved in negotiations do not expect major obstacles to ironing out the inter-party differences. “We are still discussing about sharing key positions among the parties and the allocation of ministerial berths,” said Law Minister Agni Kharel.

Published: 14-10-2015 08:44

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