Exactly a week after voting communist leader Jhalanath Khanal to the prime minister’s post, Maoists in Nepal sprang another surprise on Thursday by deciding not to join the new government.
The move follows bickering between Maoists and Khanal’s party, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), over sharing of portfolios.
The Maoists were demanding the home ministry as part of a secret deal signed between Khanal and Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ prior to the prime minister election last week.
But since CPN (UML) refused to let go of it, Maoists decided to stay out of the government. The party, the largest in parliament, would continue supporting the government from outside.
“Since CPN (UML) has showed unwillingness to go ahead with the deal, we decided to not to join the government,” said Maoist vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
During earlier meetings on power sharing, both parties had agreed to distribute 19 ministries among themselves and allocate the rest seven to other parties joining the coalition.
Amid the ongoing tussle, Khanal expanded his one-man-government on Thursday by including party colleagues Bharat Mohan Adhikari, Bishnu Poudel and Gangalal Tuladhar in cabinet.
While Adhikari will take charge as the new Deputy Prime Minister, portfolios of the other ministers will be allotted later.
The new ministers were administered oath of office by Khanal in presence of President Ram Baran Yadav at a brief function held at Shital Niwas, the president’s official residence.