Nepalese prime minister expands cabinet

Other News Materials 31 August 2008 19:45 (UTC +04:00)

Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Sunday expanded the nine-day-old cabinet, appointing three deputy prime ministers and 15 more ministers.

The expansion came after several days of delays due to wrangling between the main ruling parties over the hierarchy of ministers, the dpa reported.

Six ministers from the moderate Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and three from smaller parties in the constituent assembly along with six new Maoists were sworn in as ministers at a special programme on Sunday.

Prime Minister Dahal, who also goes by the name of Prachanda, promoted three existing ministers - one each from the Maoists, CPN-UML and the ethnic Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) - as deputy prime ministers.

The three parties formed an alliance earlier this month, leading to the formation of the government. With the new appointments, the total number of ministers in the Maoist led government reached 23.

The deputy prime ministers include Maoists' second in command Babu Ram Bhattarai and the leader of ethnic MPRF Upendra Yadav.

Political analysts in Kathmandu saw the move as an attempt by Prachanda to please alliance members to ensure the continuation of his government.

Maoists emerged as the single largest party in the constituent assembly following elections in April, but are well short of a majority needed to form a government on their own.

The assembly is responsible for drafting a new constitution for the country following the abolition of monarchy and to appoint a government.

Maoists gave up their armed rebellion after a decade of fighting security forces in November 2006.

The fighting left nearly 14,000 people dead and displaced thousands of others.