…that led the UML to stay away from the oath taking ceremony. Only eight ministers were sworn-in yesterday as UML said they won’t join govt without 2nd ranking in the cabinet
The UML proposed that its senior leader Bam Dev Gautam be ranked in the second position after PM Dahal while the Maoists presented their senior leader and Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai for that slot.…a report by Ghanashyam Ojha
The three-party journey has landed in hot soup at the very outset, with a major partner–CPN (UML)–boycotting the swearing-in ceremony yesterday citing the ‘seniority order’ in the newly formed cabinet. With the UML’s decision to abstain from the function, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal administered the oath of office and secrecy to only eight ministers–four each from the Maoists and the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF)– at the President’s Office Friday evening. The Maoists are yet to finalize the names of five ministers. The UML decided to boycott the swearing-in at the last minute as it differed seriously with the Maoists over the issue of who should be the senior-most minister in the cabinet hierarchy after the PM.
The UML has selected former deputy prime minister and party standing committee member Gautam for the home ministry portfolio. Although the two parties negotiated for more than two hours, they failed to reach agreement.
The UML has warned that it won’t join the coalition government until the Maoists agree to provide second senior-most status to Gautam. “UML will never join the government if the Maoists don’t review their stance,” said UML General Secretary Jhalanath Khanal. He argued that the UML, being the second largest party in the government after the Maoists, must get second position after the prime minister. He said Gautam, who has already been a deputy prime minister, is more senior to Dr Bhattarai. “The Maoists’ stance is another form of totalitarianism,” Khanal said, adding, “They (Maoist) want both the first and second positions in the government.” Both the parties have, however, agreed to resume negotiations after PM and Maoist Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal returns from his visit to China.
Minister selection causes conflict in UML The selection of ministers has given rise to serious conflict within the UML. After the party standing committee meeting Friday morning selected six ministers, party central leaders including Bhim Rawal, Radha Gyawali and Surendra Pandey have accused the party leadership of failing to maintain inclusiveness. They have warned that they will be compelled to resign from the party if the its leadership doesn’t review its decision. “The party leadership has not included anyone from Seti, Mahakali or Karnali zone in the list of ministers,” central leader Rawal said. He said all Constituent Assembly (CA) members representing the three zones, will go to the extent of resigning en masse from the party if the party leadership doesn’t immediately review its decision. There are eight CA members from the three zones, including six from Seti and one each from Mahakali and Karnali. When asked about the issue, UML General Secretary Khanal said, “We are yet to discuss the meaning of the protest.”
Cabinet endorses CMP The first cabinet meeting after its expansion Friday endorsed Common Minimum Program of the government agreed among CPN (Maoist), CPN-UML and Madhesi People’s Rights Forum on Thursday. The meeting held for one and half hours at Prime Minister’s Office also decided to send PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal to Beijing to attend the closing ceremony of Olympic Games, and Foreign Affairs Minsiter Upendra Yadav to India for BIMSTEC meeting. The meeting also endorsed code of conduct for the ministers agreed by three parties.
Dr Baburam Bhattarai–Finance
Ram Bahadur Thapa-Defense
Krishna Bahadur Mahara-Information and Communications
Dev Gurung-Law and Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Upendra Yadav-Foreign Affairs
Bijaya Kumar Gachchhedar-Physical Planning
Jaya Prakash Gupta-Agriculture
Proposed UML Ministers
Ram Chandra Jha–Local Development
Bishnu Poudel-Water Resources
Gopal Shakya–Youth and Sports
Asta Laxmi Shakya–Commerce and Industry