Fifteen newly appointed ministers and ministers of state took the oath of office and secrecy at the President’s Office in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly appointed ministers, while ministers of state were sworn in by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda at the Sheetal Niwas in the afternoon.
The UML has been allotted eight ministers, the CPN (Maoist Centre) four, the Rastriya Swotantra Party (RSP) and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) with three ministers and a minister of state each, with Janamat Party getting a minister as per the agreement among the parties in the ruling coalition. With the swearing in of new ministers, PM Prachanda's Cabinet now has 23 members, including four deputy prime ministers and three state ministers.
RPP Chairman Rajendra Lingden has taken oath as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Water Resources.
From Maoist Centre, Rekha Sharma has become the Minister for Information, Communications and Technology and Aman Lal Modi the Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration.
Similarly, Sudan Kirati has become the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Sushila Shripali the Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
From the UML, Bimala Rai Poudel has been appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, Padam Giri (Minister for Health), Bhagwati Chaudhary (Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare) and Hari Upreti (Minister for Defence).
RPP’s Bikram Pandey has been appointed the Minister for Urban Development, with Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan being given the reins of the Law Ministry. Deepak Bahadur Singh has become the Minister of State for Energy.
From the Rastriya Swotantra Party, Shishir Khanal has been appointed Minister for Education and Dol Prasad Aryal the Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security. Toshima Karki has become the Minister of State for Health and Population.
The Cabinet expansion on Tuesday came after several rounds of discussions between PM Prachanda and UML Chair KP Sharma Oli. The two leaders have agreed to lead the government on a rotation basis.
As per the agreement between the two parties, Prachanda will be the Prime Minister for the first two and a half years, with UML’s choice of candidate taking up the post of Speaker.