Kathmandu: Moderate communist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal was Monday sworn-in as the Prime Minister of Nepal and extended an olive branch to the sulking Maoists by inviting them to join the government to take the peace process to a “positive” conclusion.
56-year-old Nepal, who was elected unopposed as the Prime Minister by the Constituent Assembly on Saturday, was sworn-in by President Ram Baran Yadav at the Sheetal Niwas here. He assumed office immediately after the ceremony.
Madhav Nepal was clad in the national dress of Daura Suruwal, grey coat and black Nepali cap during the ceremony.
CPN-UML leaders Vidya Bhandari and Surendra Pandey also took the oath of office and secrecy at the ceremony. While Bhandari has been appointed as the Defence Minister, Pandey will be the Finance Minister.
The three-member cabinet is likely to be expanded within a few days as coalition partners — Nepali Congress and Madhesi People’s Rights Forum — are yet to decide on the names to be included in the ministry.
Nepal replaced Prachanda who resigned as premier on May 4 after differences with President Ram Baran Yadav on the issue of sacking of army chief Gen Rukmangad Katawal.
“I have become the Prime Minister in order to fill the political vaccum and I will try my best to bring the Maoists into the government,” Nepal told reporters after assuming office.