Buddhi Man Tamang Research Intern, IPCS email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently, the International Crisis Group (ICG)
published a report titled ‘Nepal’s Fitful Peace Process.’ This comes a
month before the extension of the Constituent Assembly’s term by three
months for the second time. The report covers four crucial issues: the
delay in drafting the constitution, integration and the rehabilitation
of the Maoist Army, lack of political consensus among the political
parties and the role of international community in facilitating Nepal’s
Differences among Nepali Congress (NC), Communist Party of Nepal United
Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and United Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist
(UCPN-M) on federalism are identified as the reasons for delaying the
drafting of Constitution. UCPN (Maoist) has demanded an ethnicity-based
federal structure which is also the demand of the indigenous ethnic
groups in Nepal. However, the NC and CPN (UML) are against this proposal
by the UCPN (Maoist). The working of the CA has been widely affected
because of these differences. The indigenous groups will not give up the
demand of ethnic federalism even if the Maoist give it up. In fact, the
Maoists got unanimous support of the indigenous groups for proposing
ethnic federalism in their political manifesto.
State restructuring, marginal voices on resurrection of 1990’s
constitution and Madhesi’s view points on state restructuring are other
issues hindering the drafting process of the constitution. Likewise, the
report deals with the seven month house agitation of the Prime
Ministerial election widely affecting the constitution drafting process.
Political parties are also divided on the form of governance, language
and system of leadership (executive presidency or prime ministerial) in
the new constitution. These disputes have obstructed the making of
concrete decisions in thematic committees.
However, the report appreciates the 50-days integration plan for the
Maoist army personnel forwarded by the Special Committee under the
highest political decision-making forum. The report also highlights the
probable conflicts after the integration of the national army. It
further deals with the concept of the promotion of harmonization among
integrated Maoist and national army so that they can mutually co-operate
putting aside the past chaos and animosity. The debate on
democratization of Nepal’s army revolves around the choice of downsizing
it or democratizing it through inclusiveness. Madheshi parties have
demanded the inclusion of Madhesi’s in the Nepalese army and are now
using it as a bargaining chip for extension of the CA term.
With regards to the involvement of the international forces in Nepal’s
peace and constitution building process, the report is critical of
India’s involvement in encouraging Madhesi forces towards dissolution of
CA to counter Maoists. The report advocates that the dissolution of the
CA cannot resolve the ongoing political instabilities. India shares the
credit of the 12 point agreement signed between the then Seven Party
Alliance and the CPN (Maoist) as the political roadmap of Nepal’s peace
process. The cold war between India and UCPN (Maoist) started when
Prachanda went to China, breaking the tradition of visiting India as
It focuses on the drama of the longest Prime Ministerial election in the
Nepalese parliament (Prachanda’s ambition of being Prime Minister, the
fraction in the Maoist party between the hardliner Mohan Vaidya and
architect of the peace process Baburam Bhattarai). This intra-party
politics within the Maoist cadre and their accusation that India is not
helping in the premiership race has been brought out in the report as
India’s negative influential presence in Nepalese politics. The report
equally highlights India’s lobby of departure of United Nations Mission
to Nepal (UNMIN) because of India’s constraint on interest articulation
of the western forces through the mission. UNMIN was invited to assist
Nepal’s peace process signed between the government of Nepal and the
then CPN (Maoist). UNMIN had been mandated to monitor the CA election
and the verification of the Maoist armies.
It also covers the CPN (UML)s’ strategic way of dealing with Maoists and
India with different fractional groups in order to play power politics.
The rhetoric of the democratic alliance is projected through the Nepali
Congress, which is supported by smaller parties, who believe that
democracy provides the best ideological balance to reduce influence of
the left majority. The report thus makes to appeal to both, India and
the international community to help facilitate Nepal’s peace and
constitution writing process.
Although the report has exaggerated some of the issues, the lack of
confidence among the political parties to reach a consensus supports the
argument presented in the report and makes scope or the critique of the
government. The concluding note that the Constituent Assembly is the
only legitimate forum to address the genuine voices of all the groups be
it Madhesis, Janajatis or every Nepalese emphasizes the importance of
the CA in legitimizing the logical conclusion of the peace process.
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