24-30 November 2017 #885

135 ministers

Bhagwan Khanal in Karobar Daily, 22 November

If you are annoyed by a jumbo cabinet, get ready to be outraged: Nepal may have as many as 135 ministers after the elections.

Up to 825 MPs (275 in the federal Parliament and 550 in seven state assemblies) will be elected in the two rounds of parliamentary and provincial polls on 26 Nov. and 7 Dec.

As per the new Constitution, the Prime Minister cannot appoint more than 25 ministers in the federal setup, so the federal cabinet will not be as big as it is now. But there will be more ministers in provinces.

The Constitution allows a chief minister to appoint up to 20% of the members of state assemblies as ministers. So seven chief ministers could appoint as many as 110 ministers. Province 3, which includes Kathmandu Valley, could have the most ministers (22), followed by Province 2 (21). The lowest number of ministers will likely be in Province 6.

It’s not a constitutional obligation to appoint this many ministers. But it is likely that there will be many aspirants, all putting tremendous pressure on the Prime Minister and chief ministers to become part of the cabinet.

More ministers means a bigger burden on the state exchequer, and it will be a challenge for the central and provincial governments to manage financial resources.