After keeping everyone guessing for weeks, Nepal’s Maoist party formally decided to join the Jhalanath Khanal government on Thursday.
The party’s standing committee agreed to head 11 ministries in the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)— Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) coalition.
Politburo member Krishna Bahadur Mahara who heads the external affairs wing of UCPN (M) will head the Maoist ministers in the government.
Reports in local media say that he is likely to be made Deputy Prime Minister with additional charge of information and communication ministry.
Party spokesperson Dinanath Sharma told media persons after the standing committee meeting names of other 10 ministers and their corresponding portfolios will be decided later.
The home ministry, the main bone of contention for both parties, will remain with the Prime Minister for the time being.
Chairman of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Nepal) Upendra Yadav is expected to get the foreign affairs portfolio once his party formally announces its decision to join the government.
Despite assuming office on February 6, Khanal is functioning with a mini three-member cabinet comprising party colleagues due to differences within CPN (UML) and with Maoists over sharing of ministries.
Opposition to the secret deal, which he signed with Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to reach the PM post is another reason for delay in cabinet expansion.