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Govt will seek clarifications from EU, Indian envoys, says DPM Mainali

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KATHMANDU – Deputy Prime Minister CP Mainali has said that the government will seek clarifications from European Union and Indian envoys in Kathmandu over reference made towards Nepal after the conclusion of the 13th EU-India Summit.

He said that the joint statement issued by the European Union and India over the reference to Nepal and its new Constitution was totally inappropriate.

“The reference is inappropriate. Foreign Ministry will summon the emissaries and look for clarifications from them,” Mainali said at an interaction in Kathmandu on Saturday.

Mainali also accused Indian envoy Ranjit Rae crossed diplomatic etiquette by inviting Madhesi leaders during Holi festival and assuring Indian support towards their demands.

“Ambassadors should work by following the decorum. Envoy Rae has disregarded the decorum and is involved in politics,” he said.

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New govt likely to have 18 ministers

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KATHMANDU — The new government is likely to have 15 to 18 ministries in total as Prime mInister KP Sharma Oli is preparing to give his cabinet a full shape.

As per discussion between Prime Minister Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the government may include Madhes-based parties to make the government inclusive and have two-thirds majority in the Parliament.

According to Article 76 (9) of the constitution, the number of ministers cannot exceed 25 in the federal Cabinet. With the new constitution limiting the size of Council of Ministers to 25, the new governing team could be limited to 18 members including three state ministers. A formal decision on the matter is yet to be taken.

Speaking at a program organised in Kathmandu on Tuesday, UML leader Pradeep said: “Cabinet expansion is likely to take place on Wednesday. A few Maoist ministers will be joining the Oli government.”

“Our taskforce has recommended that the government form a 15-member Cabinet. Some of the ministries will be integrated and others scrapped.”

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Ishwor Pokhrel, Pradeep Gyawali, Rabindra Adhikari, Raghubir Mahaseth, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Padma Aryal are the probable ministerial candidates from the UML.

Like3wise, Maoist chair Dahal and senior CPN-MC leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa have been given the responsibility of selecting ministers from their party.

Probable ministerial candidates from the Maoist Centre include Ram Bahadur Thapa, Matrika Yadav, Pampha Bhusal, Devendra Poudel, Lekhraj Bhatta, Chakrapani Khanal, Pun, Girirajmani Pokhrel and Dev Gurung, according to the sources.

Thapa may lead the CPN-MC in the government as deputy prime minister. Yadav is being considered for appointment since he represents Madhes, Bhusal as a woman while Poudel is one of the leaders who joined the party lately. Poudel had left the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party to join the Maoist Centre just ahead of unification talks with the UML.

Leaders involved in discussions said the Maoist Centre could appoint up to eight ministers if the Cabinet size does not exceed 18.

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