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Khanal sworn in Nepal's Premier

Nepal’s new Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal  

Nepal's President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav administered the oath of office and secrecy to newly-elected Prime Minister and chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) Jhalanath Khanal on Sunday.

However, the Prime Minister was unable to form a “small Cabinet” as per his original plan due to differences with his key ally, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). “We were in favour of a comprehensive deal on power-sharing and sending a small team to the government today itself. But the UML said it needed more time,” said Maoist vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha ‘Prakash'.

Both parties also differed on who would get the Home Ministry. On Sunday, the UML standing committee meeting decided to send three of its leaders — Bharat Mohan Adhikari, Bishnu Poudel and Gangadhar Tuladhar — as Finance, Home and Education Ministers respectively. But the Maoists claimed the home portfolio. Mr. Prakash told The Hindu, “There has already been a prior agreement that we would get home. There is no way we will leave our claim.” Maoist army integration bureau chief Barshaman Pun ‘Ananta' is understood to the party's preference for Home Minister.

The swearing-in was preceded by another controversy when the text of a Maoist-UML seven-point agreement, agreed upon right before Maoists supported Mr. Khanal's candidature on Thursday, became public.

Both sides agreed to write a constitution that would “institutionalise republic, restructure the state and adopt federalism, strengthen people's inclusive democracy, end all forms of feudalism, and strengthen national independence”.

To conclude the peace process, there has been an agreement to “create a separate force of Maoist combatants, or a separate force that includes Maoist combatants and personnel of other security organs”. The two parties also pledged to build a long-lasting partnership and “lead the government rotationally in the future”.

The agreement drew criticism from Nepali Congress and sections of the UML. “The creation of a separate force is not mentioned in the CPA. We will never accept this. This is a great betrayal from the UML,” said NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel. UML leaders, from the Madhav Nepal and K P Oli factions, alleged they had not been consulted at all.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 10:44:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Khanal-sworn-in-Nepals-Premier/article15130702.ece

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