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Nepal crisis

Peace News is tracking Nepal’s peace process which has been staggering along since the end of the civil war in 2006. The party of the Maoist guerrillas became the largest party in the new parliament, and formed the government in 2008. Having retired to opposition in 2009 after disputes with the Nepali army, the Maoists are now – astonishingly – back in charge. On 28 August, the Maoists’ chief strategist Baburam Bhattarai received 340 votes in the 601-seat parliament, after winning the support of ethnic parties from the southern Terai region. The two other major parties, the Nepali Congress and the United Marxist Leninist communist party, refused to join the Maoist-led government. There are 19,000 ex-guerrillas still living in cantonments waiting to be integrated into the Nepali security forces as promised in the 2006 comprehensive peace agreement. On 1 September, the Maoist leadership handed over the keys to arms containers in four cantonments. Vice-chair Mohan Baidya rejected the move describing it as “suicidal” and in violation of central committee decisions. It is not clear how the new government is going to make progress with the peace process as Congress wants the Maoists to totally disarm before developing a new constitution for Nepal, while many Maoists feel the processes should go hand-in-hand.

Topics: Nepal