Coalition agrees on ministerial portfolio, cabinet today

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Kathmandu, Aug 22 (UNI) The Maoist, UML and Madhesi People's Rights Forum, the three parties of the coalition, have reached consensus on sharing ministerial portfolios by expanding the ministries from 21 to 24.

The parties have agreed to announce the cabinet today before Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal leaves for China for his first official visit tomorrow to attend the concluding ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. They would discuss about the deputy prime minister which is demanded by both UML and MPRF.

According to the agreement, Maoists will have nine ministries, including Defence, Finance, Peace and Reconstruction, Information and Communications, Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Labour and Transport Management, Housing and Rural Development, Land Reforms and Management and Law and Parliamentary Affairs.

UML will have six ministries that include Home, Local Development, Water Resources, Forest and Soil Conservation, Youth and Sports and Industry, while MPRF will have four ministries -- Foreign, Physical Planning, Agriculture and Supply.

Other minstries will be given to small parties supporting the Maoist led government. Nepali Congress, the second largest party in the Constituent Assembly, has already decided to stay in opposition after the Maoists refused to share portfolio with it.

Dr Baburam Bhattarai will be Finance Minister and Ram Bahadur Thapa the Defence Minister while UML's Bam Dev Gautam will lead his party with Home Ministry.

The parties have agreed to settle the integration of People's Liberation of Army within six months and form a high-level security commission to formulate a new security policy in the changed political context.

All the commissions, including Disappearance commission and Truth and Reconciliation Commission pledged in the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in the past will be formed immediately, they said.

The coalition has also agreed to abrogate all unequal treaties of the past. The parties have said time and again that the treaties signed with India including the 1950 treaty is unequal.

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