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The political crisis in Nepal’s faltering peace process continues to stagger on. On 3 March, Nepal’s Maoists, the largest party in parliament, agreed to join the new government headed by Jhalanath Khanal of the United Marxist-Leninists (UML).
Khanal is locked in a battle with his own party after winning the premiership on 3 February by secretly promising the Maoists that they would hold the home ministry in a new coalition government. It was reported on 17 February that Khanal had threatened to resign if his party did not accept his decision to award the ministry of home affairs to the “Maobadhi”.
It appears that the Maoists will only gain the security portfolio after a special demobilisation committee agrees a timetable, a process and a target number of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ex-guerrillas for integration and rehabilitation. UML hardliners are demanding that all 19,000 PLA members be disarmed, and Maoist leaders stripped of their PLA security details, before the appointment of a Maoist home minister.
Infighting among the Maoists, meanwhile, has prevented the party nominating more than four of the 11 ministerial positions they have secured. There is no prospect of agreeing a new constitution by the deadline of 28 May.