Nepal PM heads 17 out of 21 ministries, struggles to expand cabinet two months after government formation

Almost two months after Sher Bahadur Deuba formed the government in Nepal with the support of a rainbow coalition of political parties, he is yet to expand his cabinet, drawing criticism from the public as he heads almost 17 out of the total 21 ministries

Sep 11, 2021
Image
Nepal Prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba

Almost two months after Sher Bahadur Deuba formed the government in Nepal with the support of a rainbow coalition of political parties, he is yet to expand his cabinet, drawing criticism from the public as he heads almost 17 out of the total 21 ministries. The delay, however, is because of his coalition partners in the government who fear splits and divisions within their parties after the cabinet expansion, 

Deuba, who heads the Nepali Congress, became the country’s prime minister in July this year following an order from the apex court. The CPN Maoist-Center ( CPN-MC), the third biggest political party led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who later became the arch-rival of former communist prime minister KP Sharma Oli, extended his support to Deuba to dethrone Oli. 

Several smaller parties and factions later supported the Deuba government in the hope of getting a share of power in the ruling dispensation. Deuba, in order to weaken the principal opposition party, the CPN-UML headed by Oli, brought an ordinance, easing the split of political parties. 

The ordinance, that allowed a big faction of the principal opposition party, the CPM-UML, to break away and back the government, is now threatening other smaller parties part of the ruling coalition. 

A report in The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported that Deuba has now asked the coalition partners to submit their names for the cabinet as he planned to expand his cabinet soon. The JSP, a small party in the ruling coalition, also riddled with factionalism, however, is still reluctant, fearing the party members who won’t make it to cabinet may use the recent ordinance to split the party. 

The JSP is now demanding that the government either drop the ordinance or make changes in the bill, thus making the split harder. However, another party, the CPN-Unified Socialist--a breakaway faction of Oli’s CPN-UML headed by Madhav Nepal, which has a total of 21 MPs, is pushing the government to push the bill with the existing provisions. 

However, despite the support for the bill, Madhav Nepal’s party is also delaying the nominating members for cabinet posts as there is a pending case of his party’s split in the apex court. He wanted the case to be sorted out before he could make a decision on his Cabinet picks. 

On the other hand, Prime Minister Deuba is visibly frustrated amid mounting criticism of the absence of ministers which has been affecting governance. Furthermore, the country will go to general elections next year, and such delay and criticism could affect his prospect. 

(SAM)