Prime Minister Deuba Also Heads 22 Ministries, For Now
On June 6, Sher Bahadur Deuba made headlines for being Nepal’s 25th Prime Minister in 27 years, and for being the Prime Minister for the fourth time. Despite his extensive experience in Office, he has been criticised for the sluggish setting up of his Cabinet. When a Minister is not appointed, the Prime Minister assumes that portfolio by default. This means Prime Minister Deuba has been holding a gigantic portfolio of 22 Ministries, while serving as the Prime Minister, for more than a month.
‘If Prime Minister Deuba can recite the names of all the Ministries he is overseeing without reading it anywhere then he would be considered a capable Prime Minister’
प्रम देउवाले आफूले सम्हालेका सबै मन्त्रालयको नाम कतै नपढी सरर भन्नसके भने सक्षम प्रधानमन्त्री मानिनेछन् ।
— Prateek Pradhan (@prateekpradhan) July 17, 2017
‘My advice to the Prime Minister would be – “Prime Minister should simply not participate in these kinds of tests!’
प्रमलाई मेरो सल्लाह हुन्थ्यो – “प्रधानमन्त्रीले यस्तो परीक्षामा भाग नै लिनु हुँदैन ! ” https://t.co/9HF8bwa0FO
— Rajendra Dahal (@RDahal62) July 17, 2017
The Deuba government finally appears ready to appoint Ministers, this week. Until that happens, here are the Ministries the Prime Minister will continue to head:
- Agricultural Development
- Commerce and Supplies
- Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation
- Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
- Forest and Soil Conservation
- General Administration
- Information and Communication
- Land Reform and Management
- Livestock Development
- Peace and Reconstruction
- Population and Environment
- Physical Infrastructure and Transportation
- Science and Technology
- Water Supply and Sanitation
- Women, Children and Social Welfare Development
- Youth and Sports
Why The Delay?
The delay is actually circumstantial. PM Deuba was expected to expand his Cabinet on Wednesday, which could not happen as talks with agitating Madhes-based parties have yielded no results. It has been learnt that Deuba has promised to move the Constitution Amendment proposal forward for endorsement, which requires a two-third parliament majority. However, the government has committed to meeting other demands such as dropping cases against protesters, providing livelihood support to the injured during the Madhes protest, and increasing the number of local units in proportion to population size.
Deuba, who is the Nepali Congress Party President, took the post of Prime Minister right before the second round of local elections. He has been trying to win over the agitating Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N). The effort to bring agitating parties on board is aimed at addressing the concerns of the Madhes-based parties. This is one of the reasons for the delay in the expansion of the Cabinet. The local elections was another reason for the delay.
The portfolio distribution will now depend on negotiations with the Madhes-based parties, say leaders. Since the RJP-N has expressed doubts over the commitment of the government, it may take a few rounds of negotiation and a concrete move by the Deuba-led government to bring the party onboard.
The ruling coalition has divided the portfolios already. As per the agreement, Nepali Congress, which has been leading the government, will keep 13 ministries, CPN (Maoist Centre) will be given nine ministries, and Nepal Democratic Forum, three. Five ministries have been set aside for fringe parties.