KATHMANDU: Leaders from eight Nepal parties on Friday began discussions on the formation of an interim government and announcement of a date for polls to the Constituent Assembly.

The leaders arrived at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's official residence in Baluwatar in Kathmandu in the morning for the discussions. The meeting is expected to sort out the structure of the interim administration as well as allocation of ministerial portfolios among the political parties.

On Thursday, Nepali Congress leader Shekhar Koirala said the parties have agreed on the portfolios of the ministries in the interim government.

Meanwhile, in a new move to curtail the powers of King Gyanendra, the Government on Friday decided to cut down the number of royal staff to a quarter of its current size and reduce the number of securitymen deployed at the palace.

Fifty per cent of the staff will be dismissed while the half of those remaining would retire under a voluntary scheme. A Cabinet minister estimated the number of the staff working at the Palace Secretariat was around 750. Xinhua, PTI