Nepalese prime minister expands Cabinet

Nepal's prime minister expanded the Cabinet on Monday to include more members from the ruling coalition parties, the state radio said.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala added 11 new members to the Cabinet, the announcement over Radio Nepal said. The government that took office last month had only seven ministers from the three main political parties.

The expansion includes members from four of the seven political parties in a political alliance that organized street protests last month. The protests forced King Gyanendra to give up powers he seized last year and reinstate parliament.

It was not clear why two smaller partners in the alliance had not joined the government, although one group said it would not accept a ministerial post.

The expansion was expected last week but squabbling within one of the seven ruling parties delayed any announcement of the changes.

The Nepali Congress Democratic led by former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had been locked in internal feuds for days over which candidates to nominate as ministers from their party and who would be the party's leader in parliament.

Weeks of often violent street protests last month forced Gyanendra to give up direct control of the government, reinstate Parliament and return political authority to elected officials.

Gyanendra fired the country's prime minister in February 2005, citing a need to clamp down on corruption and stamp out a communist insurgency that has killed 13,000 people in the past decade, repors the AP.

I.L.