The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nepal leaders get bogged down on govt

Kathmandu, May 1: The process to form the government in Nepal was bogged down for the second consecutive day today after serious differences within the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) over the allocation of important portfolios.

Till late this evening, Nepalís new Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was trying to hammer out a compromise formula with prominent SPA constituents ' CPN(UML) and Nepali Congress (Democratic) ' without any progress.

While the CPN(UML) want their candidate K.P. Oli to be given the crucial portfolios of deputy prime minister and home, the NCD is demanding separate status in the re-instated House of Representatives.

Koirala convened a SPA meeting this morning to discuss the formation of the cabinet and finalise the names of the candidates.

Even though it was decided at the meeting that the cabinet will have 21 members, the members could not agree on the allocation of portfolios.

A top coalition leader told The Telegraph on condition of anonymity that Koirala is keen on making former deputy prime minister and senior leader of the Nepali Congress Ram Chandra Poudel his second in command with the additional portfolio of home affairs. The communists, on the other hand, want the same posts for veteran Leftist K. P. Oli.

The leader said that soon after the inconclusive SPA meeting, Koirala had a long conversation on the phone with CPN (UML) supremo Madhav Kumar Nepal with the hope of persuading him to accept his decision.

Koirala reportedly told Nepal that owing to his failing health he wanted his trusted aide Poudel to hold the portfolios.

However, Nepal reportedly told the Prime Minister that Koirala himself had made a commitment on making Oli the deputy prime minister during the pro-democracy movement. Nepal also said that both the standing committee and central committee of his party had endorsed the move.

Later in the evening, the CPN (UML) standing committee met once again and passed a resolution nominating K.P. Oli for the twin posts.

The NCD, which stalled the SPA meeting yesterday demanding separate party status within the House of Representatives, today managed to have its way. The parliament secretariat today endorsed the SPA decision to treat the NCD as a separate entity within the House with 29 lawmakers in its ranks.

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