PM Oli’s Cabinet may have 18 ministers

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Feb 21, 2018-Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is preparing to appoint 15 to 18 ministers to his Cabinet in total.

With the new constitution limiting the size of Council of Ministers to 25-strong including the prime minister, the new governing team could be limited to 18 members including three state ministers, according to UML sources. A formal decision on the matter is yet to be taken. 

According to UML leader Pradeep Gyawali, Cabinet expansion is likely to take place on Wednesday. “A few Maoist ministers will be joining the Oli government tomorrow,” said a leader involved in power-sharing negotiations.

Speaking at a programme organised in Kathmandu on Tuesday, Gyawali said: 

“Our taskforce has recommended that the government form a 15-member Cabinet. Some of the [existing] ministries will be integrated and others scrapped.”

Ishwor Pokhrel, Gyawali, Rabindra Adhikari, Raghubir Mahaseth, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Padma Aryal are the probable ministerial candidates from the UML.

With nomination of former central bank governor Yubaraj Khatiwada as a National Assembly member, leaders say he may be appointed the finance minister. However, many including Pokhrel, Gyawali, Pande and Maoist leader Barshaman Pun are contenders for the post.

Leaders involved in discussions said the Maoist Centre could appoint up to eight ministers if the Cabinet size does not exceed 18.

According to a leader, probable ministerial candidates from the Maoist Centre include Ram Bahadur Thapa, Matrika Yadav, Pampha Bhusal, Devendra Poudel, Lekhraj Bhatta, Chakrapani Khanal, Pun, Girirajmani Pokhrel and Dev Gurung.

Thapa is tipped to be appointed the deputy prime minister. Yadav is being 

considered for appointment since he represents Madhes, Bhusal as a woman 

while Poudel is one of the leaders who joined the party lately. Poudel had left the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party to join the Maoist Centre just ahead of unification talks with the UML.

Bhatta is from the Far West while former PLA commander Khanal has never been appointed to a position of power.

Since many ministries will be merged, PM Oli, according to sources, wants experienced people in his Cabinet.


Kharel appointed attorney general

KATHMANDU: Former law minister Agni Kharel, who is close to PM Oli, has been appointed the new attorney general. President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointed Kharel as the government’s chief legal advisor on the Cabinet’s recommendation. Sources claimed that Kharel was chosen for the job as a time when the judiciary faces a precarious situation with the chief justice embroiled in a controversy. (PR)

Published: 21-02-2018 07:33

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