During the last six years of ‘peace process’, one key issue has been the integration of Maoist guerrillas into the Nepali armed forces – after they had fought each other in a bitter civil war for the previous 10 years.
On 26 August, the integration process finally came to an end, as 66 men and four women were commissioned as officers in the Nepali army after a nine-month training course. In July, 1,352 other ex-Maoist combatants completed a seven-month training course and entered the junior ranks of the army.
That’s about 7% of the 19,600 recognised Maoist fighters who came out of the civil war hoping for integration into the 105,000-strong Nepali army.
Some of the other 93% have joined a breakaway militant Maoist grouping which is leading a 33-party coalition towards a boycott (and the disruption) of constituent assembly elections scheduled for 19 November.
One of the militants’ demands is the dissolution of the current government, headed by the chief justice, Khilraj Regmi, who has taken steps well beyond what was expected of an interim prime minister.
He has set a whole-year budget instead of one until the elections, and made hundreds of job changes in the civil service, including appointing a former royal-era official accused of corruption to head the powerful commission for the investigation of abuse of authority.
Regmi has also refused to stand down as chief justice, despite the fact that a number of challenges to the constitutionality of his appointment as prime minister keep being postponed in the supreme court.