June 5, 2021 9:09:20 am
Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli made major changes to his Cabinet, dropping Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel and Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Gyawali, among others, and inducting 10 members of the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP).
Oli will now have three Deputy PMs — Bishnu Poudel and Raghubir Mahaseth from the Oli-led Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), and Rajendra Mahato from the JSP.
All the new ministers were administered oath of office and secrecy by Oli in the presence of Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari at the President’s residence in the evening. The CPN-UML now has, including Oli, seven ministers, which is three less than the JSP.
The JSP, however, is on the verge of a split as a rival faction led by Upendra Yadav has already expelled four prominent leaders from the party, including Mahato.
Poudel, who was elevated to the rank of the Deputy PM, continues to retain the Finance portfolio, while another Deputy PM, Mahaseth, was given charge of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Legal challenges to Oli’s appointment as caretaker PM on May 23, along with the dissolution of Parliament, is being heard by a Constitutional Bench of Nepal’s Supreme Court. Multiple petitions demand that Sher Bahadur Deuba, the leader of the oppposition Nepali Congress, be appointed Prime Minister in Oli’s place after Deuba claimed to have majority support in Parliament but was overlooked by the President.
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