Kathmandu: Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday expanded his cabinet by inducting 17 ministers and two state ministers from the five-party ruling coalition, three months after assuming power.
With this, the strength of the government has now increased to 25, which includes 22 ministers and three ministers of state.
Earlier, the cabinet had only six members, including the prime minister and a minister of state.
Nepal’s constitution allows only 25 cabinet ministers.
Prime Minister Deuba was unable to expand his cabinet due to prolonged power-sharing talks between the five-party ruling coalition.
The newly appointed ministers took the oath of office and secrecy in the presidential office soon after being appointed on the recommendation of Prime Minister Deuba.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath to the newly appointed ministers, while Prime Minister Deuba administered the oath to the two Ministers of State in the President’s Office in the presence of the President.
According to the Kathmandu Post newspaper, the new appointments were made possible after a power-sharing agreement was reached between the coalition partners in power.
Five ministers from the newly formed CPN-Unified Socialist, four ministers and a state minister from the Madhes-based Janata Socialist Party and five ministers and a state minister from the CPN-Maoist Center headed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” have been inducted.
Similarly, the Deuba-led Nepali Congress has got eight ministers and one minister of state, according to sources in the presidential office.
Bal Krishna Khand of the Nepali Congress has retained the Home portfolio, while Narayan Khadka of the same party has retained the post of Foreign Minister.
Kadhaka was last month appointed as the foreign minister by President Bhandari.
Similarly, Nepalese Congress’s Minendra Rizal and Gyanendra Bahadur Karki have got Defense and Information and Communication ministries respectively.
Khatiwada has been appointed as the Minister of Health and Population in opposition to the CPN-Unified Socialist.
Janardan Sharma of CPN-Maoist Center retained the Finance Ministry.
The ruling coalition of five parties includes Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Unified Socialists), Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) and CPN (Maoist Centre).
Deuba was facing widespread criticism for failing to expand his cabinet three months after taking over as prime minister, the Kathmandu Post reported on Friday.
Deuba took the oath of office and secrecy for a record fifth time on July 13, a day after a five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Rana restored the dissolved House of Representatives for the second time in five months. .
Deuba, who secured 165 votes in the 275-member house, will continue in office for the next one-and-a-half years till fresh parliamentary elections are held.
On May 22, on the recommendation of the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, President Bhandari had unconstitutionally dissolved the lower house for the second time in five months.