Nepal crisis

News in Brief

Nepal narrowly avoided a breakdown of its rickety peace process on 28 May, when the deadline for a new constitution ran out. Literally at the eleventh hour, one hour before midnight, the Maoists rescued the political system by agreeing to a one-year extension, despite a continuing lack of consensus on how to integrate former Maoist guerrillas into the Nepali security forces.
The 28 May written agreement was only reached because of a verbal commitment by the present prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal (of the United Marxist Leninist communist party) to step down within five days to allow the formation of a new coalition.
Nepal then delayed his resignation, demanding Maoist concessions: an army-sponsored plan for demobilising rather than integrating former guerrillas; the dissolution of the Maoist paramilitary youth wing; and the return of property seized by the Maoists during the civil war.
These demands were not met, and the paralysis of the political system was continuing as PN went to press.
In mid-May, Bishwambher Pyakuryal, professor of economics at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan University, warned that the country’s economic problems, compounded by violence, insecurity and “non-functioning executive and legislative bodies”, could lead to “state collapse” as in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Somalia. On 8 June, four people were injured by what appears to have been a premature car bomb explosion in front of a hospital at Basundhara in Kathmandu.

Topics: Nepal