The five-party ruling coalition has reached an agreement on sharing Cabinet portfolios.

According to CPN (Unified Socialist) leader Beduram Bhusal, his party and the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal will share four portfolios each, whereas the CPN-Maoist Centre will hold six portfolios.

Out of 22 Cabinet berths, the Nepali Congress will hold eight portfolios, including the prime minister. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur is most likely to expand his Cabinet by Thursday.

The deal on the Cabinet portfolios was reached today after Deuba held a meeting with other coalition partners - CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN (Unified Socialist) Chair Madhav Kumar Nepal and JSP-N Chair Upendra Yadav.

Home, foreign affairs, and law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministries are with the NC, whereas the CPN-MC holds finance and energy ministries; minister of state for health is also from the NC.

It is not clear yet which of the coalition partners will get which portfolios.

JSP-N lawmaker M Ishtiyak Rayi said his party would get four Cabinet berths - physical infrastructure and transport, federal affairs and general administration, agriculture and livestock development, and forests and environment.

As per constitutional provisions, the Cabinet cannot exceed 25 ministers.

Rayi said the parliamentary party discussed names to be sent to the Cabinet, but party leadership would take a final call on the names after holding the executive committee meeting.

Deuba faces criticism for not being able to give full shape to the Cabinet even after two months in office. Until now there are only six ministers in Deuba's Cabinet- four from his party, including one minister of state, and two from the CPN-MC.

Deuba was not able to expand the Cabinet as its coalition partner, JSP-N, demanded that the Cabinet should be expanded only after the Political Party Act (Second Amendment) Ordinance was rescinded.

The JSP-N had argued that if the Cabinet was expanded without rescinding the ordinance, it could lead to another split in the party. The ordinance had lowered the threshold for splitting parties from 40 per cent support in both the central committee and the parliamentary party to 20 per cent support either in the central committee or the parliamentary party. The CPN-UML and the JSP-N suffered split in their parties after the ordinance was issued. The Madhav Kumar Nepal-led CPN (US) and the Mahantha Thakurled Democratic Socialist Party-Nepal were formed after the ordinance was issued.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 6, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.