KATHMANDU: Nepal’s veteran communist leader, Mr Jhalanath Khanal was sworn in as the new Prime Minister Sunday, even as his party failed to ink a power sharing deal with its key ally Maoists, delaying the cabinet formation.
President, Mr Ram Baran Yadav administered the oath of office and secrecy at a grand function in the presence of top Nepalese leaders, including Vice President, Mr Parmananda Jha, caretaker Prime Minister, Mr Madhav Kumar Nepal, Maoist chairman Mr Prachanda, Nepali Congress president, Mr Sushil Koirala and Parliament Speaker, Mr Subhas Chandra Nembang.
“I will remain committed and honest to the nation and its people to fulfill my duty,” said 60-year-old Mr Khanal.
Even as it ended a seven-month leadership vacuum in the country, the cabinet formation was postponed as the CPN-UML failed to finalise a power sharing deal with its main supporter UCPN-Maoist who are seeking their pound of flesh for having ensured Mr Khanal’s victory, sources said.
The much-awaited cabinet could not be formed Sunday due to differences between the coalition partners over key portfolios. Now Mr Khanal is likely to form a small cabinet Monday.
The Maoist party, whose support was crucial in garnering a majority in the House vote on Thursday, is apparently demanding proportional representation in the cabinet. The UCPN-Maoist has 238 seats and the CPN-UML has 108 seats in the Constituent Assembly, which acts as the country’s interim Parliament.