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Nepal crisis

The long and winding Nepali peace process is nearing a new crisis point, the national elections scheduled for 19 November, which are designed to create a new constituent assembly to finally agree a national constitution. (We are three years past the deadline set in 2006 for agreeing a new constitution.)

As PN went to press, it wasn’t clear if negotiations between the parties were going to manage to avert a major boycott of the elections, after the interim government decided to deploy the Nepali army to safeguard the election process.

The Maoists, who were the largest party in the old constituent assembly, split in two in June 2012. The larger grouping is fully in favour of the elections. The breakaway radical faction (led by one Mohan Baidya) has assembled a 33-party coalition of smaller parties to oppose the elections, and has been accused of violence and intimidation towards election officials.

The Baidya Maoists have the allegiance of 92 ex-MPs (the constituent assembly also functioned as the national parliament) and so is the fourth-largest party, and cannot be ignored.

The Baidya Maoists are threatening to boycott and obstruct the elections, demanding the resignation of the interim prime minister, Khil Raj Regmi, from his day job as chief justice of the supreme court. (See PN 2555.)

Topics: Nepal