SSF-N negotiates hard as PM Oli tries to build ties with Province 2

  • PM ready to allocate two ministries to SSF-N but the latter wants three
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 5, 2018-

The left alliance is having a difficult time managing entry of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSF-N) to its fold after the latter demanded three ministries and deputy speaker.

SSF-N leaders who had claimed that they were close to strike a deal, said on Sunday that they have yet to finalise issues. “Talks are going on positively, but nothing has been finalised yet,” said SSF-N Chairman Upendra Yadav.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is keen to rope in the SSF-N in order to maintain cordial relations with Province 2, the only province which the left alliance failed to win. The alliance, however, supported the province’s chief minister in the vote of confidence. 

Leaders of the three parties—UML, Maoist Centre and SSF-N—dwelt on finalising the power sharing deal also on Sunday but their talks on attending the oath taking ceremony of the newly elected members of the federal parliament.

“Today’s meeting entrusted three top leaders—PM Oli, Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and SSF-N Chairman Yadav to finalise the deal at the earliest,” said UML Secretary Pradip Gyawali.

The left alliance is ready to allocate two ministries to the SSF-N in the Cabinet. The alliance has decided to limit the number of ministries to 18, including the Prime Minister’s Office.

The SSF-N has been demanding a constitutional position—deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, but UML leaders are opposed to that. The SSF-N is also staking its claim to the second rank in the Oli Cabinet which has already been awarded to UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel, who is also the defence minister.

“How can the party having 16 seats be given second rank in the Cabinet with major ministries,” questioned a senior UML leader who attended Sunday’s meeting.

The SSF-N has been seeking major development-focused ministries, including the physical planning and transport. 

Since the Oli government will be fully focused on development works, the party is unlikely to allocate such ministries to other parties, said another UML leader.

The PM is, however, positive on allocating two ministries to the SSF-N to send out a positive message and maintain good relations with Province 2.

Oli has also urged Coordinator of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal Mahantha Thakur to join his Cabinet. 

The two leaders held a meeting at Baluwatar for nearly two hours on Sunday.

At the meeting, Thakur told PM Oli that he would have to discuss the proposal within his party.

RJP-N leaders have been claiming that constitution amendment will be their 

bottom-line to join the government.

Published: 05-03-2018 07:39

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