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New constitution great achievement of 2072, says Prez Bhandari

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KATHMANDU — President Bidya Devi Bhandari has said that the promulgation of the constitution of the democratic republic Nepal was the greatest achievement of the year 2072, which realized Nepali people’s long-held aspiration of becoming fully sovereign.

In a message today on the occasion of New Year 2073 B.S., President Bhandari has said that the responsibility of safeguarding the historical and epochal achievement made possible through a political campaign has fallen on the shoulders of all Nepalis to thereby guide the nation towards economic prosperity with the implementation of the new constitution.

“The time has also come along with the onset of the New Year to move ahead with a new thought, style and a new destination, and implement the new constitution on the basis of dialogue and consensus”, the President said in the message.

President Bhandari has also stressed that the government, political parties, civil society organisations and the private sector should join hands in giving priority to the post-earthquake reconstruction and rebuilding programme to normalize the daily life of the quake survivors, and resolve other problems facing the country.

On the occasion, she has extended best wishes for the happiness, peace, long-life, goodwill and harmony of all Nepalis living in the country and aboard.

In a similar message, Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun has described the year 2072 as historical and significant in giving the country a new constitution through the Constituent Assembly. However, failure to speed up the post-quake reconstruction and scarcity of fuel and other daily essentials faced by the people were some unfortunate incidents of the previous year.

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Expressing the confidence that the New Year 2073 would ensure implementation of the new constitution, speed up post-quake reconstruction and socio-economic transformation of the county, the Vice-president has also extended best wishes all Nepali brothers and sisters wishing them happiness, peace, good health, solidarity and continued progress and prosperity.

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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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