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Nepal's New Political Landscape International Crisis Group 2008-07-03

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Asia Report N°156 - 3 July 2008
Crisis Group
A. Internal Challenges 2
B. External Relations 4
C. Policy, Ideology and Pragmatism 5
D. Strengths and Strains 6
A. The Grand Old Parties: In a Hole and Digging Deeper 7
1. The Nepali Congress 8
2. The UML 9
3. Can they reform and recover? 9
B. The Arrival of the Madhesi Parties 10
C. Changes at the Fringes 11
A. Kathmandu: the Bubble That Didn't Burst 12
B. India: Big Brother's Bitter-sweet Triumph 12
C. The Other International Players 14
1. China 14
2. The United States 15
3. The United Nations 15
A. The Last-minute Republic Declaration 16
B. The New Government: Consensus or Competition? 18
A. The Heart of the Power Struggle: Controlling the Security Sector 19
1. The problem 19
2. Pot and kettle? 20
3. Away out? 21
B. Peace, Governance and Constitution Writing 22
A. Map of Nepal 26
B. Glossary of Acronyms 27
C. The Republic Declaration 29
D. About the International Crisis Group 30
E. Crisis Group Reports and Briefings on Asia 31
F. Crisis Group Board of Trustees 33
 Crisis Group
Asia Report N°156
3 July 2008
Nepal's Maoists crowned their transition from underground insurgency to open politics with a convincing
victory in 10 April 2008 constituent assembly (CA)
elections. Their surprise win has thrown other parties
into confusion, with the major mainstream ones unwilling to recognise their defeat and participate in a
Maoist-led government, despite clear pre-election and
constitutional commitments to maintaining cross-party
unity. The CA nearly unanimously ended the monarchy at its first sitting and gave birth to the Federal
Democratic Republic of Nepal. However, extended,
unedifying haggling over government-formation suggests the consensus-based approach to the constitutional
process will be hard to implement. Building a lasting
peace and delivering the change voters called for requires all parties to accept the new situation and cooperate under a Maoist-led government, in particular to
deal with issues scarcely yet addressed including the
security sector, reestablishment of law and order in
some districts, land and local government.
For once, a rarity in Nepali politics, the political landscape has changed irrevocably. The country has managed a peaceful republican transition, and the Maoists
- the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN(M)) - and regional parties are here to stay. While old-style politicking will continue, the shape of politics has been
seriously revised. The new CA is the most inclusive
body Nepal has ever elected, with much greater representation of the many castes, ethnic groups and regional communities than past parliaments. Women
make up a third of the assembly, placing Nepal well
ahead of other countries in the region. However, the
elections produced not only a mandate for change but
also a recipe for deadlock.
The old parties have not woken up to the new realities. The popular mandate was not for a one-party minority administration but for cooperation on a path for
peace and change. The Nepali Congress (NC) and
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist,
UML) went into the election with a clear commitment
to working on the basis of consensus and cooperation
after the polls, regardless ofthe outcome. Their reluctance to keep that promise may be partly a bargaining
position but risks harming the process and further reducing their already low public esteem. They are in
danger of being seen as sulking spoilers instead of constructive participants in a constitutional process that
would benefit from healthy debate and different policy positions. The longer they delay internal reforms to
make themselves more representative, the longer it will
take to reconnect with disillusioned former supporters.
The Maoist leadership has also not made full use of
the opportunity to lever its position of strength internally and decisively reject the politics of violence and
coercion. The "peaceful revolution" strategy, much
questioned within the movement, appears to have delivered a greater success than even its architects expected. Still, they face internal debates and external
pressures. They are capable of working in coalition -
indeed, Maoist leader Prachanda has a much better
track record of managing his own party's internal disputes through consensus than Girija Prasad Koirala of
the NC, who announced on 26 June that he would resign as prime minister. But winning trust will require
action as well as words, starting with a demonstrated
commitment to the rule of law and an end to the parallel policing functions of the Young Communist
League (YCL).
The security sector remains the critical problem. The
continuing existence of two standing armies is inherently destabilising. There are widespread and sensible
concerns over a Maoist government commanding both
the Nepal Army (NA) and its own forces. But it is the
NA and the mainstream parties who created this situation by spending two years determinedly resisting
every overture to discuss the future ofthe security sector. The national army remains outside any meaningful
democratic control - and hence without checks and
balances to safeguard a smooth handover of power.
This is a legacy of ex-Prime Minister Koirala and army
chief Rookmangad Katwal's preference to use the
army as a tool for personal political interest. Maoist
willingness to discuss compromise options has met
with an unyielding brick wall.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page ii
Beyond the security sector, other pressing challenges
need to be addressed. Law and order is in tatters, particularly in some Tarai districts, and the culture of impunity remains intact. There has been no progress on
the twin questions of returning land seized during the
conflict and establishing a committee to plan promised land reforms. Securing the peace will require serious attention to measures at the district and village
level, but so far there has not even been consensus on
reestablishing the rudiments of local government.
In a final irony of the republican transition, ex-King
Gyanendra's dignified exit suggested that he understood the popular mood better than the old parties.
Every indication is that party leaders, however, have
little respect for the supposed sovereignty of the CA
and wish to keep all decision-making powers in a few
hands. This bodes ill for the legitimacy ofthe constitution-writing process.
A companion report, published simultaneously, describes the CA campaign and vote, assesses the credibility ofthe election and analyses the results.
To the Seven Governing Parties and the Other
Major Parties Represented in the Constituent
1. Form a consensus-based government under Maoist (CPN(M)) leadership, with as broad participation as possible.
2. Resolve any remaining election disputes through
established, and functional, formal mechanisms,
such as the Constituent Assembly Elections Court,
rather than by trading unsubstantiated allegations
in public.
3. Start discussions on the future of the People's
Liberation Army (PLA) and the Nepal Army
(NA), including by:
(a) setting up a multi-party committee, along the
lines ofthe interim legislature's defunct "146
Committee", to discuss the future of the security sector;
(b) starting a genuine national debate on Nepal's
security requirements and how state security
forces should be organised to meet them -
rather than the other way around;
(c) beginning work on building a capable ministry of defence and setting up the National Security Council; and
(d) developing plans for making the army and police more representative of Nepal's caste, ethnic
and regional diversity, including measures
promised in past agreements.
4. Set up a mechanism, such as a commission, to
handle the twin issues of returning land seized
during the conflict and preparing for land reform.
5. Move forward with other remaining elements of
the peace process, including by:
(a) implementing the December 2007 23-point
agreement and other accords;
(b) abiding by the November 2006 Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA) and ceasefire code of
conduct; and
(c) paying attention to the need for local peace-
building, for example by reestablishing local
government bodies and facilitating discussions between all parties and local communities at the district level.
6. Decide on the need for further UN assistance and
request it as soon as possible to enable a smooth
transition from the current mission (UNMIN),
whose mandate expires on 22 July.
7. Prepare for the constitution-writing process by:
(a) establishing, with as broad a consensus as possible, permanent rules of procedure to replace
the current temporary provisions;
(b) forming appropriate CA subcommittees and
agreeing on how to manage the division of business between the CA as a constitution-drafting
body and as a legislature;
(c) making clear commitments for public participation, as most major parties promised in election manifestos without spelling out details.
8. Take immediate steps towards ending the culture
of impunity, for example by:
(a) completing investigations already underway
into wartime atrocities and demanding compliance from all witnesses and suspects;
(b) investigating and prosecuting other well-
documented cases of rights violations, such as
the torture and disappearances allegedly carried
out by the army at Maharajgunj and the Maoists' bombing of a civilian bus at Madi; and
(c) investigating and informing families of the
fate of people disappeared during the conflict,
as promised in the CPA, and ordering the cooperation of state security agencies and the
CPN(M) in probing the whereabouts of the
hundreds who are still unaccounted for.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page iii
9. Respect and promote the role of women, not only
the one third of CA members, in the peace process
and strive to implement all of UN Security Council Resolution 1325's recommendations, building
on Nepal's new reputation as the regional leader
in women's political representation.
10. Respect the pre-election deals with protesting
groups by implementing fully the agreements with
the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF)
and the Federal Republican National Front and
continue to pursue negotiations with armed militant groups.
11. Move beyond solely seven-party cooperation to
involve all parties represented in the CA in the
constitution-writing process, and consider revising the interim constitution to remove the special
status accorded to the governing seven parties.
To the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist),
12. End the use of violence, intimidation and extortion by:
(a) bringing the YCL under control and ensuring
its activities are limited to those of a legitimate,
non-violent political party youth wing; and
(b) cooperating with investigations into alleged
crimes carried out by Maoist cadres (including
the April 2008 murder of Ram Hari Shrestha)
and surrendering suspects to the state authorities.
13. Dismantle parallel governance structures such as
"people's courts", the United Revolutionary People's
Council and other "people's government" bodies.
To the Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist
Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist,
14. Accept the election results and use the sizeable
number of CA seats voters did deliver constructively.
15. Recognise the need for serious structural and policy
reform to reconnect with voters, for example by:
(a) improving internal democracy (which is particularly weak in the NC);
(b) making party structures at all levels more representative of Nepal's diversity; and
(c) increasing progressively the level of women's
representation in party offices.
To the Nepal Army:
16. Fulfil repeated commitments to democracy by:
(a) staying out of politics;
(b) assisting in steps towards meaningful democratic control ofthe security sector; and
(c) providing professional input to discussions on
the shape of future national security strategy.
To the International Community, in particular
India, China, the U.S., EU and UN:
17. Assist in the post-election period by:
(a) reminding all parties they must accept the outcome and only use formal procedures to resolve
any outstanding complaints; and
(b) urging and supporting the formation of a power-
sharing unity government.
18. Offer technical and financial assistance for establishing mechanisms to ensure public participation
in the constitutional process and work to coordinate proposed training and orientation programs
for CA members, ifthe CA desires such efforts.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 3 July 2008
 Crisis Group
Asia Report N°156
3 July 2008
Nepal's constituent assembly (CA) elections delivered a surprise result and opened a difficult new transitional phase in the peace process.1 The lie of the
land for the main parties has changed. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist, CPN(M)), has in the
space of two years moved from being an underground
insurgent group to the largest national party, commanding over a third ofthe seats in the assembly. The
Nepali Congress (NC), which won the last general
elections in 1999 and had dominated the interim government, trailed a distant second, with half the seats
ofthe CPN(M). It, and the third party (the moderate
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist,
UML), face the challenge of coping with the Maoists'
victory, revitalising their own party structures and reconnecting with the electorate. The strong showing by
new regional parties from the plains, in particular the
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), is a sign of irreversible structural changes in political support.
This report, the second of a set of two, surveys the
new political landscape following the 10 April 2008
elections.2 It first examines the situation ofthe parties:
how they have reacted to the results, the state of internal debates and organisational pressures and the
factors likely to shape their behaviour in the short to
medium term. The latter sections examine the domestic and international reactions and the challenges of
the transition to a new government, interim state structures and the start ofthe constitution-writing business.
Most of the policy recommendations offered by this
report are not new. The immediate priority is clear:
for all parties to accept the election results and move
forward in sensible collaboration on the twin tasks of
completing the peace process and writing a new constitution. In these areas, many earlier recommendations remain relevant simply because so little has been
done to address the difficult tasks essential to securing
the peace.
1 On the pre-election period and the constitutional and legal
provisions governing the elections and the transition, see
Crisis Group Asia Report N°149, Nepal's Election and Be-
yond^ 2 April 2008. Other recent reporting includes Crisis
Group Asia Briefing N°72, Nepal: Peace Postponed, 18 December 2007; Asia Briefing N°68, Nepal's Fragile Peace
Process, 28 September 2007; and Asia Reports N°136, Nepal's Troubled Tarai Region, 9 July 2007; N°132, Nepal's
Maoists: Purists or Pragmatists?, 18 May 2007; and N°128,
Nepal's Constitutional Process, 26 February 2007. Full
Nepali translations of these reports and briefings are available at
2The companion background report, Nepal's Election: A
Peaceful Revolution?, which is being published simultaneously, describes the campaign and vote, assesses the credibility ofthe election and analyses the results.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 2
towards whom they propose to adopt a policy of
The Maoist victory was at first glance a resounding
vindication of their "peaceful revolution" strategy.
CPN(M) Chairman Prachanda had pushed this much-
disputed leadership line while persuading his movement it was worth staying in the peace process.3 However, as the Maoists themselves are most keenly aware,
the picture is not so simple. Although the initial first-
past-the-post (FPTP) results suggested a landslide and
outright majority, the final results left the Maoists
with just over one third of the CA seats: enough to
block any other parties taking control but not sufficient to implement a revolutionary agenda single-
handedly - as their opponents daily remind them.
The CPN(M) leadership faces numerous internal and
external pressures.4 Debates within the party have not
subsided, and in some respects have sharpened; its international backers have been happy at the results but
reserve judgement on their strategy. The success was
facilitated by a massive organisation, which now expects concrete rewards. The party has yet to secure
leadership of the transitional government, and, even
when it does, will have to manage a coalition or minority administration while facing high expectations
and problems so serious (not least rising food and fuel
prices) that they would trouble the strongest majority
regime. Finally, the election result and conciliatory
public statements are far from enough to convince
sceptics, domestic and international, that the Maoists
have solid democratic credentials. They know they
have to deal with donors and outside powers, in particular the immediate neighbours - India and China -
On the revised Maoist strategy and debates over their participation in the peace process, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Maoists, op. cit.
4 For a recent assessment of the CPN(M)'s transition by a
respected observer, see Kiyoko Ogura, "Seeking State
Power: The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)", Berghof
Research Center, Berlin, 2008, at www.berghof-center.
org/uploads/download/transitions_cpnm.pdf. In this section,
"internal" means within the Maoist movement itself. When
Maoist strategists speak of "internal" challenges, they often
refer to national/domestic issues as opposed to international,
as in this analysis: "There are two types of challenges- internal and external. Internally, despite the fall of [the] main representative of feudalism, its political, economic, cultural
forms, among others, are still prevalent. Moreover, we have
yet to tally institutionalise a republic. At this period, the conservatives can come up with different faces. Externally, with
the establishment of a republic, foreign reactionary forces
will also try to intervene". Mohan Baidya, "Kiran" interview,
The Rising Nepal, 2 June 2008.
A. Internal Challenges
The CPN(M) is Nepal's most disciplined and united
party, despite perhaps also being the party most able
to cope with lively internal debate. It has never suffered major splits or defections,5 nor has Prachanda
ever faced a serious challenge to his leadership since
he assumed control of the CPN(M)'s forerunner, the
CPN (Masai) in 1985.6 Throughout the tortuous peace
process it has maintained a unified front, although its
internal discussions have taken place more and more
This report does not offer a detailed analysis of policy
debate within the CPN(M). There are, however, three
salient features which are sometimes lost on outside
□ The mainstream media likes to present many disputes as personality clashes. But two-dimensional
portraits of "sulky" Matrika Yadav or "haughty"
Mohan Baidya obscure the fact that most differences are grounded in serious policy debates, even
if some are also tinged by individual tensions. Senior Maoists take their politics seriously; most of
them, including top People's Liberation Army
(PLA) commanders, are prolific writers of weighty
ideological polemics - and occasional sharp jabs at
those who espouse different lines.7 A simplistic
division into "hardliners" and "softliners" is also
unhelpful: the architects ofthe peace process line
are not ideologically "soft".
□ For all the attention Maoist leaders have given to
transformation and moving away from armed
struggle, the fulcrum of debate is not whether the
The only high-profile Maoist to quit the movement, Rabindra Shrestha, made perhaps the worst individual miscalculation of the election campaign, joining the UML with a fanfare of publicity just before it was crushed by the CPN(M) at
the polls. On Shrestha's revolt against Prachanda, see Crisis
Group Report, Nepal's Maoists, op. cit., pp. 5-6.
6 On the history of the CPN(M)'s antecedents, see Deepak
Thapa with Bandita Sijapati, A Kingdom under Siege: Nepal's Maoist Insurgency, 1996 to 2003 (Kathmandu, 2003).
The falling out between Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai in
early 2005 was serious but at no point likely to have prompted
a major split in the movement.
7 The most egregious spilling over of personal politics into
the mainstream media was an article by Baburam Bhattarai's
assistant portraying him as a "new Pushpalal", the most respected of Nepal's first communist leaders. Bishwadeep Pandey "Baburam 'naya pushpalal'", Kantipur, 19 May 2008.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 3
CPN(M) should embrace "normal" democratic
politics. The Maoists believe themselves already to
be democratic and, in their view, far more so than
other parties, but their definition of "democracy"
is not the same as post-1990 parliamentary practice, which they (and many others) see as compromised and discredited. The real debate is about
how best to achieve their revolutionary goals: it is
an argument about means, not ends. The ideological gulf between the Maoists and the old parties
remains wide.8
□ Debate is generally contained within the party, and
once a line is agreed it is adhered to. Much has been
made of the emergence of an anti-leadership (or at
least anti-Baburam Bhattarai) "dissident" group, led
by Mohan Baidya "Kiran" and Ram Bahadur Thapa "Badal". But, as with the barely concealed debates at post-people's movement central committee meetings, opponents of the Maoists would be
rash to assume such disagreements are signs of a
serious split. Those who have frequently predicted
a debilitating factional falling-out are still waiting,
and may have to wait much longer.
The more serious internal challenges are more down-
to-earth and less tractable - the type of difficulties that
cannot be finessed by well crafted choice of language.
The first is organisational. The size of the Maoist
movement has been its strength but is also a burden.
The party core - including long-term activists and
combatants - is not a problem. As has been demonstrated in the past two years, the military, the PLA, is
firmly under party control and has, in general, quietly
put up with the frustrations of cantonment life with no
exit in sight. The Young Communist League (YCL) is
a different question. It has well-trained (mainly ex-
PLA) commanders but has grown exponentially.9 As
CPN(M) Central Committee member Dharmendra Bastola
warned that their opponents are deliberately obstructing the
"New Democratic Revolution": "The parliamentary parties
want to keep semi-feudal, semi-colonial mode of production
at any cost. Our Party has been struggling to smash them".
Interview, The Red Star, 1 June 2008, at http://southasiarev.
9 There are no accurate figures on the strength of the YCL,
although informed estimates suggest it could be as high as
300,000-400,000 (not all of these being full-time activists).
Maoist leaders have said they want to boost its membership
to one million, but even the YCL's chief is unwilling to talk
exact figures, as this interview illustrates: "Q: You say you
have one million active cadres working in your organisation.
How do you manage such a large number of people? Pun:
All one million of them are not the full-timers. Q: How many
of them work full-time? Pun: They are very few in number,
the Maoists know from their rapid expansion into the
east during the insurgency, mass recruitment brings
many problems. The core of the YCL was former
"people's militia" youths; more recent recruits have
not even their basic level of selection, training and
testing. The Maoists want and need the YCL but cannot sustain it by legitimate means; they can improve
its disciplinary record but only if they want to and devote significant energy to the task. So far, efforts have
been unconvincing.10
The second is about practical politics. Assuming the
CPN(M) does end up leading the next government -
despite other parties' qualms and internal doubts - it
will have to fight on several fronts as it tries to deliver. Apart from pushing its constitutional vision, it
will need to cope with all the woes that face incumbent administrations in difficult times, exacerbated by
its ambitious manifesto pledges.11 Succeeding in this
challenge requires not only working with other parties
but also through a bureaucracy that is innately conservative, unrepresentative and, as Maoist ministers
belatedly realised in the course of 2007, unlikely to
over-exert itself to implement Maoist policy.
If Maoist leaders are not successful on both these fronts,
the possibility of a return to street agitation cannot
be ruled out. Speaking in Gorkha on 1 June 2008,
Prachanda warned that obstruction in government formation could lead the Maoists to launch new agitation.
Others have again raised the prospect of an "October
Revolution".12 Asked if another movement or struggle
is likely, a Maoist leader explained that the question is
about handing power to the people, not the CPN(M):
maybe 5 or 10 per cent. Q: That means around 20,000 persons? Pun: Even less than that. We don't have the exact data.
That one million is also not the precise figure. There were
around six to seven lakh [600-700,000] YCL cadres some
seven months ago. We expanded the organization's membership during the election, so now the number may be around
nine to 10 lakhs [900,000-1 million]". "The polls succeeded
because we became Gandhis", interview with YCL leader
Ganesh Man Pun, The Kathmandu Post, 16 June 2008.
10"YCL to stop taking action against others", The Kathmandu Post, 31 May 2008. The YCL's chief commented: "We
are not a paramilitary institution; we may appear paramilitary in our action and manner because we work and move in
a mass or group. We will correct that, and we have been saying it". Ibid.
11 The CPN(M)'s election "Commitment Paper" made many
specific promises - for example, universal drinking water,
health care and education - as did a separate economic vision paper. See Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Election and
Beyond, op. cit, p. 3.
12 See also Somat Ghimire, "Badhyakari bandaichha aktobar
kranti", Naya Patrika, 5 June 2008.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 4
The role of our party is to lead these people to
seize the political power, if [it is] not handed over
through the level of struggle so far performed.
And, ifthe NC and the UML fail to comply to the
people's verdict, the people will certainly come to
the struggle of another level and force them to
hand over the political power to the people. No
force in the world can stop the people from taking
power, once they get ideologically, politically
equipped. This will be the case in Nepal too.13
B. External Relations
The Maoists are also well aware that they need to deal
with the international community - both as political
power centres and/or donors - and sceptical potential
allies such as the business community and media.
Maoist leaders' immediate reactions to their victory
were overwhelmingly conciliatory and accommodating.
With some notable exceptions - such as Prachanda's
intemperate, albeit ironic, attack on one private media
house14 - party representatives at most levels have been
carefully on-message. The tone was set by Prachanda
himself at his first public speech as the election results came in:
We will work together with not only the seven parties but also the new parties that will be established
through this election and the old parties in existence
in the forthcoming constitution making process.... All eyes are upon us. This is a positive challenge for us. I want to clarify that the path of cooperation that we adopted since the twelve-point
agreement will continue....For the international
community and especially our neighbours India
and China, I want to say that our party wants good
relations with all of them and is willing to work
together on development cooperation and the
peace process.15
Interview, The Red Star, op. cit.
14 "Prachanda warns Kantipur Publications", The Kathmandu
Post, 31 May 2008. Kantipur had taken a stridently anti-Maoist
stance, in particular since the Maoist-affiliated trade union
organised its paper delivery men and vandalised its printing
presses in a protest over workers' rights. Prachanda's "threat"
prompted outraged condemnations from Kantipur, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists and international press freedom watchdogs. However, journalists who attended the
meeting which Prachanda addressed said it was clear he was
speaking ironically - prefacing his warning with thanks for
Kantipur's "help" to the Maoist campaign. Crisis Group interviews, journalists, Kathmandu, 9 and 18 June 2008.
15"'We want to continue working with parties and the int'l
community', says Prachanda",, 12 April 2008.
Maoist leaders kept up their efforts to court the international community, most notably appearing at a UN-
hosted press conference following a meeting with donors on 24 April. They have made some concrete progress, for example engaging U.S. diplomats face-to-
face.16 Maoist representatives at an Indo-Nepal seminar in Patna were well received. A sceptical journalist
at the meeting was won over by Minister Hisila Yami's
performance: "For the first time I wasn't embarrassed
by our minister. She said all the right things, in form
and content. It was truly impressive".17 The Maoists
know they need international cooperation and have a
simple message to communicate to the world: "All we
want is for outsiders to give us a fair chance. Let them
criticise us if we make mistakes but the time for prejudice is over. We want to deliver real change and hope
international friends will work with us".18
Before and after the elections, the CPN(M) maintained
a controversial push to encourage former royalist
"nationalists" to join hands with them. Some, such as
Panchayat-era zonal commissioner Surya Bahadur Sen
Oli, were even accommodated on the party's PR list.
Plausible rumours abound that other high-profile monarchists, such as royal foreign minister Ramesh Nath Pandey, have been wooed.19 Reports even suggested the
CPN(M) wanted the king himself to join a new Maoist-led nationalist front.20 Many who formerly looked
to the palace and despised the Maoists are in confusion. They are naturally attracted to the CPN(M)'s
promise of nationalist governance with an authoritarian
firm hand, and delighted at the defeat of mainstream
party leaders they had long derided but been unable to
unseat. At the same time, they are deeply suspicious
of communism. The Maoists are unlikely to find more
than conditional support among former royalists.
But the most visible diplomatic target has been the
business community. As a useful analysis points out,
apart from political negotiations, top Maoist leaders
have lavished most time and attention on the private
sector.21 Prachanda's and Bhattarai's well-publicised
talk with the newly elected Federation of Nepalese
16 See below, Section IV.C(2).
17 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, 28 April 2008.
18 Crisis Group interview, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Kathmandu, 17 April 2008.
19 A weekly quoted reports that the Maoists were preparing
to propose Pandey for the CA. "Nepal: Staunch royalist Pandey in Maoist quota for CA member", Telegraph Weekly, 19
May 2008, at
news_ id=3447.
20 "Prachanda wants ex-king to join nationalist front with
Maoists", Press Trust of India, 9 June 2008.
21 Mukul Humagain and Rishikesh Dahal, "Najukindai neta",
Nepal, 15 June 2008.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 5
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) president was their first high-profile, post-election meeting.22 Many more have followed.
"Nepal's Maoists have changed their strategy and tactics but not yet their goals", was how Crisis Group assessed the CPN(M)'s position in early 2007.23 This
remains a valid, if simplistic, summary. Although
several CPN(M) leaders complained of anti-Maoist
"bias" in that report, they are keen to reinforce the
central message that their revolution continues. Hints
that the party may abandon its "Prachandapath" strategy and even drop "Maoist" in a rebranding exercise
seem premature.24 As Prachanda explained on the eve
of the elections, "we have not completed the democratic revolution, you know. We are in the process of
the completion of the democratic revolution".25 The
Maoists emphasise that their current situation is the
result of bullet and ballot, not a rejection ofthe former. "We have not left the armed struggle", insisted
Baburam Bhattarai. "We wouldn't be here without the
armed struggle - if we did not have an army. It's a fusion of bullet and ballot".26 Leaders consistently point
The FNCCI subsequently came up with its own twenty-
year economic vision paper, echoing themes stressed by the
Maoists but also emphasising the leading role of a fully independent private sector.
23 Crisis Group Report Nepal's Maoists, op. cit., p. i.
24Narayankaji Shrestha "Prakash", general secretary of CPN
(Unity Center-Masai), announced that his party would soon
merge with the CPN(M), which would drop Prachandapath and
even the "Maoist" name. "Maoists will abandon Prachandapath says Prakash",, 9 June 2008. For an in-
depth interview see "Videshi Kutnitigyaharu aphnai mary-
adama basun", Ghatana ra Bichar, 18 June 2008.
25 Mary Des Chene and Stephen Mikesell, "An Exclusive Interview for MRZine with CPN(Maoist) Leader Prachanda",
Monthly Review, 27 May 2008, at http://mrzfne.monthlyreview.
26 Amit Sengupta, "It's a fusion of bullet and ballot", Hard
News, June 2008, at
06/2210. When a transcript of an Indian television interview
with Prachanda appeared to airbrush out the "bullet" element, Indian supporters of the CPN(M) reacted angrily to
this "doctoring, nay censoring" of Prachanda's original reference to the "fusion" of bullet and ballot. Anand Swaroop
Verma and Gautam Navlakha (on behalf of Indo-Nepal People's Solidarity Forum), letter to Karan Thapar, New Delhi,
19 May 2008. For a good exposition of Bhattarai's thinking,
see Stephen Mikesell and Mary Des Chene, "Baburam Bhattarai: For a 'New Nepal'", Economic and Political Weekly,
10 May 2008.
out that the end ofthe monarchy alone does not mean
the struggle against feudalism is over.27
Leveraging their partial victory and justifying the revolutionary credentials of the ballot/bullet fusion will,
however, present significant political and ideological
challenges. As their Indian counterparts put it: "The
real test, however, begins now after the CPN(M) takes
over the reins of power. It is a fundamental tenet of
Marxism that no radical restructuring ofthe system is
possible without the smashing ofthe existing state".28
The CPI(Maoist) warned that mass mobilisation will
continue to be the only way to force the former ruling
classes to give up power and that the CPN(M)'s lack
of a CA majority means they will not be able to win
the "arduous and bitter struggle" to write a pro-poor
constitution. They will have to choose between making unprincipled compromises or opting to "intensify
the struggle through all means, including armed insurrection, in order to implement genuine democracy and
establish people's power. There is no other alternative". Or rather, the alternative is "to become dizzy
with success" and invite a "reactionary backlash".29
The CPI(Maoist) concluded that the CPN(M) would
be better off not joining government and continuing
to lead a mass struggle from outside. The result of
working with "reactionary parties and imperialists"
would be "degeneration of the party leadership and
cadres and emergence of a strong bureaucratic class.
In such a scenario, all the gains made would go down
the drain, and the reactionary parties would once
again come to power by cashing in on the frustration
ofthe masses".30 This is a far from private debate: the
mainstream Nepali press has relayed the message to
stay out of government.31
Such a critique is far from an extreme position on the
left. It was the inflexible rule of India's moderate
CPI(Marxist), which refused to allow its leader, Jyoti
Basu, to head a coalition administration in 1997 and
is only supporting India's governing UPA coalition
from outside government. The fears of the CPN(M)
being weakened by being in office but not in power
echo the long-standing critique ofthe UML's decision
to lead a minority administration in 1994, a choice
27 See, for example, Hisila Yami, "Dhalyo rajtantra, dhaleko
chhaina samantavad", Gorkhapatra, 18 June 2008.
28 Azad spokesperson, Central Committee, CPI (Maoist), Press
release, 24 April 2008, at
29 Ibid.
30 Ibid.
31 "Bharatiya maovadidvara pushpakamallai sattama nabasna
agrah", Kantipur, 11 June.
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 6
many of its leaders later came to regret - though perhaps not as many as now regret its joining the 2004-
2005 Deuba coalition as a junior partner. But the
Maoists have already experienced being in power but
not in office and realise the need to get their hands on
the levers ofthe state. As the Leninist streak in their
thinking has long suggested, there is little to be
gained by dominating the countryside while being
locked out of central power.
The CPN(M)'s successes have for years discomfited
international Maoists as much as they have cheered
them. Few fraternal organisations, least of all senior
Indian Maoists, gave the CPN(M) good odds on progress when they launched their "people's war"; many
were happy to criticise them as inexperienced and unrealistic.32 At the same time, some thinkers within the
Maoist Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM)
who have been urging fresh thinking have seized on
the CPN(M)'s changed approach as evidence in support oftheir challenge to old orthodoxies. As an American activist who has strongly criticised the American
Revolutionary Communist Party leader Bob Avakian's
line put it:
The [CPN(M)'s] mix of communist goals and non-
dogmatic methods disturb a lot of leftist assumptions too. When the CPN(Maoist) launched an
armed uprising in 1996, some people thought these
were outdated tactics. When the CPN(Maoist) suspended armed combat in 2006 and entered an anti-
monarchist coalition government, some people assumed they would lose their identity to a corrupt
cabal. When the Maoists press their current anti-
feudal program, some people think they are forgetting about socialism.33
This is a debate that will run and run, within the
CPN(M) and the global radical left alike.34 The important point is that the CPN(M) leadership's line has
been bold and controversial and will remain so. Its
"transformation" is not insincere but it is not set in
stone, nor will supporters accept it unconditionally. If
it delivers results - progress towards the Maoists' clearly
stated goals - it will be hailed as a success. If it appears to falter, the voices urging a revised approach
will be strengthened.
32For background on the CPN(M)'s close but disputatious
relations with other Maoist organisations, see Crisis Group
Report Nepal's Maoists, op. cit, pp. 8-12.
33Mike Ely, "Eyes on the Maobadi: 4 Reasons Nepal's Revolution Matters", 8 June 2008, at http://southasiarev.wordpress.
34 Crisis Group will return to the topic of post-election Maoist politics in more detail in future reporting.
The Maoists have emphatically demonstrated their
political and organisational strengths. Given their resilience and adaptability and the parlous state of their
main opponents, sensible money should now be on a
repeat performance in the next election, whenever it
comes. The main threat to a further victory is either a
dramatic (but unlikely) revival ofthe NC and UML's
fortunes or (unlikely, but not impossible) serious failure in government or eruption of internal divisions.
However, their strengths bring with them weaknesses.
All their courting of critics will go in vain if they cannot transform their actions as well as their words.
Continuing bad behaviour is not limited to isolated
aberrations but still reflects a systemic unwillingness
to respect fully the democratic norms they have supposedly signed up to.
The post-election abduction, torture and killing of
Kathmandu businessman Ram Hari Shrestha is only
the most egregious example. It appears to have been
carried out under the direct supervision of senior PLA
commanders. While Maoist leaders eventually accepted responsibility and offered compensation, they have
not allowed justice to take its course, nor have they
handed over the prime accused.35 There have been
credible reports of reprisals against individuals and
communities who did not vote for them.36 On 18 May
the National Human Rights Commission published
ten specific allegations of serious rights violations.37
PLA Deputy Commander Prabhakar announced the suspension of the prime accused, Kali Bahadur Kham Magar
"Vividh" and promised that the party's own investigation
committee would uncover the "true facts" about Shrestha's
death. He made no mention of cooperating with the police,
handing over the accused or taking action against anyone
found responsible. Press release, PLA Deputy Headquarters,
23 May 2008.
36For example, various media reported that Maoists had cut
off water supplies to Bagarkot, Dadeldhura, because locals
had not voted for them. "Bhot nadieko bhandai pani mu-
hanma avarodh", Kantipur, 11 June 2008.
37 On 18 May 2008, the NHRC listed ten recent allegations it
had received about Maoist behaviour: the murder of Ram
Hari Shrestha after abduction; the serious beating and injuring at Kulung, Bhojpur of UML cadres Ram Singh Rai,
Khagendra Kumar Rai, Dedraj Basnet and Kul Bahadur Rai
at Kulung Bhojpur, who are being treated at TU Teaching
Hospital in Kathmandu; destruction of the house of Chandra
Bahadur Shrestha of Okharpauwa, Nuwakot, after he was
accused of not voting for the Maoists and being active
against them; the beating up and injuring of Rameshwor
Pokharel, a teacher of Nepane Secondary School in Gorkha
for not voting for the Maoists; disruption ofthe drinking wa-
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 7
Days later, the NC accused the YCL of murdering
party worker Jaya Lai Bom in Kalikot district on 16
May.38 Maoist leaders have, quite reasonably, asked
to be judged by their actions. By this measure, they
still have much to answer for.
The Grand Old Parties:
In a Hole and Digging Deeper
ter supply by cutting pipes in Nawalpur-8, Sindhupalchowk,
after accusing villagers of not voting for the Maoists and not
donating money for a road construction project; YCL death
threats, which forced the five-member family of Nara Bahadur Gurung to flee their home in Changthapu VDC,
Panchthar district; the merciless beating of five brothers of a
family at Kaskikot, Kaski district; the manhandling of Ram
Banjare, the owner of Gulmeli Hotel in Arghakhanchi; the
threatening of Pratap Singh Tamang of Hokse VDC, Kavre
district, for voting for the NC; the beating up of teachers
Krishna Prasad Pathak and Ram Nath Tiwari of Rameshwor
Higher Secondary School in Chitwan.
38 "NC alleges Maoists of killing its cadre in Kalikot", nepal-, 21 May 2008.
The two major mainstream parties, the NC and UML,
are at a more critical juncture than their leaders' public
pronouncements suggest. Unwilling to listen to voters and their own grass-roots workers, they risk years
in the political wilderness if they do not face up to
their defeat and take urgent steps to reform themselves and reconnect with the electorate. Most signs
suggest the NC will prefer to turn inwards, rejecting
the election's message and becoming embroiled in internal strife. The UML is more disciplined and realistic but has to decide whether to fight the Maoists for
dominance ofthe left or rebrand itself as a centrist social democratic alternative. The established parties'
sense of entitlement is not wholly illusory: they were
not wiped out at the polls and will not disappear entirely. But their behaviour suggests they may lose
themselves in self-defeating recriminations.
For the NC and UML the election results were both
better and worse than they appeared at first glance.
Better, in that the initial Maoist landslide in the FPTP
vote was balanced by a less commanding victory in the
PR contest. Worse, in that the results from winnable
seats suggest a crippling disconnect with ordinary
voters and their own core supporters and activists.
Both parties continued to pay more attention to pleasing powerful outside forces than to ordinary citizens.
They were stuck in the mode of assuming that power
comes from above - delivered by the palace, by Delhi
or by closed-door leadership haggling - rather than
from the ballot box. Neither party made any visible
effort to make itself more inclusive and representative, nor to confront the heavy ranks of established senior leaders with the need to give way to fresh faces.
It is not very clear what the parties believe in. The
NC's much-trumpeted commitment to political pluralism is not an exclusive claim and looks increasingly
tired in the face of its egregious refusal to develop any
democratic practice within the party. Like the NC, the
UML reluctantly signed up to the Maoist-led republican agenda but neither wholeheartedly enough to
suggest a genuine progressive zeal nor with enough
concrete caveats to suggest a viable alternative stance
on key issues. The parties may not quite deserve the
CPI(Maoist)'s accusation that they are "narrow self-
seeking robber gangsters who are out to fatten themselves at the expense of the vast masses of poor and
the destitute", but they should seriously consider its
conclusion, that "the results are a telling indictment
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page <
against forces which had proved themselves to be a
party to the oppression, suppression and exploitation
of women, Dalits, national minorities and adivasis
[indigenous peoples]".39
1.    The Nepali Congress
The NC is well positioned to continue its dramatic decline, especially if it neglects its remaining strengths.
The party was, and remains, reunited in name only.
There is still a well defined split between the erstwhile mother party and Sher Bahadur Deuba's Nepali
Congress (Democratic, NC(D)). Ex-Prime Minister
Koirala is even reported to have blamed the NC's
election defeat on the "blunder" of reunifying the
party.40 It suffered further debilitating rifts in the runup to the polls, most notably between those who respected the decision to adopt a republican line and
those who noisily rejected it. Among the latter was
the then-prime minister's daughter. Parachuted in to
the interim legislature as a nominated member, she
devoted much of her electoral campaign (against the
MJF) to pursuing a personal vendetta with Home
Minister Sitaula and publicly distancing herself from
party policy.41
The party's reluctant and largely insincere conversion
to the Maoist agenda left it unable to give a convincing impression that it stood for anything other than
its age-old commitment to multi-party politics, which
it resolutely refused to reflect in its own practice. As
supporters of the king never tired to point out, with
some justification, far more Nepalis were killed under
Deuba's premierships than under the king's direct
rule. Many voters remembered that brutal police actions directed by the NC (such as 1995's Operation
Romeo) helped fan the flames of resentment in the midwest and hasten the launch of the Maoist "people's
war". Hardline former home ministers Khum Bahadur
Khadka and Govinda Raj Joshi may owe their defeats
in part to this record. Depending on the performance
ofthe MJF and others, the party could be permanently
weakened in its Tarai base.
The NC needs to come to terms with its defeat and
work out how to reshape itself, but reformist voices
are notable for their absence throughout the leadership.
The liberal republican Narahari Acharya is a party of
one; more radical student leaders such as Gagan
Thapa have been sidelined by the leadership. There
are no hints of the kind of internal debate that could
prompt renewal. Most influential activists seem more
likely, so far, to blame their defeat on their weakness in
cooperating with the Maoists and to push for return to
the old, conservative stance. The party youth are almost equally intransigent. Both the student wing (the
NSU) and youth wing (the Tarun Dal) urged the
prime minister to stay in place and not concede defeat.42 Their tough talk of forming a "Tarun Sena" to
fight the YCL would not work (they lack the mobilisation capacity and are in no position to fight the
Maoists on their terms) and would only sacrifice their
supposed principles of non-violence and democracy -
a self-defeating move.
The NC has one great natural advantage: its position
as the clear opposition to the leftist majority. In its
own way, it also - like the Maoists - has a solid support
base of class and economic interest groups. Whatever
its policy flip-flops and ideological weakness, it is very
unlikely to disappear, as it is the natural home for
those who feel threatened by left-wing policies. With
the poor performance of other rightist parties, all of
which were tainted by their perceived royalism, the
NC can cement a more solid grip on this sector of the
electorate. Still, this will not broaden its appeal beyond
a core base which will never in itself be sufficient to
bring it back into government except in coalition (especially if future elections retain a PR element). The
viability of working in coalition will depend on two
factors: where the UML decides to position itself
(ideologically and tactically) and whether the NC can
reconcile itself with the new Madhesi forces that have
eaten into its former base in the Tarai.
In the immediate future, the NC is unlikely to devote
much attention to longer-term strategy. Its more
pressing problem is that it desperately needs to be in
government, however distasteful it may find playing
second fiddle in a Maoist-led administration. It is a
natural party of government and has little raison d'etre
in opposition. Occupying positions of power has become its primary goal and its principal sustenance:
without the patronage power it has become accustomed to, it will find it even harder to motivate its activists and protect its grip on state institutions such as
the bureaucracy and police.
Azad, spokesperson, op. cit.
40"Parti ekikaran 'blandar' thiyo", Naya Patrika, 18 June 2008.
41 Sujata Koirala reportedly announced she had not handed
out a single copy ofthe NC manifesto in her constituency, as
it had not been formally endorsed by the party. "NC meet put
off yet again", The Himalayan Times, 29 April 2008.
42"Base political consensus on NC's preconditions, says student group",, 26 May 2008; "Tarun Dal suggests PM to stay put unless conditions met", nepalnews.
com, 2 June 2008.
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Page 9
2.    The UML
The UML is trapped between the legacy of its past
bad choices and a future that demands a boldness it
currently lacks. Many traditional, educated urban UML
voters told Crisis Group that they had switched to the
Maoists because it was no longer a "real" communist
party. This is partly a hangover from the party having
petitioned the king for the prime ministership and
then joined the Deuba coalition government. It also
reflects a broader sense that the UML has seriously
neglected its natural constituencies, such as urban
workers and unemployed and the rural poor, and
driven them into the Maoists' arms.
The UML is in many ways better placed to address its
failings, however, than the NC. It is more internally
democratic, better at encouraging serious internal debate and has more dedicated local organisers. Although
its attempt to withdraw its ministers from government
as soon as the election results went bad looked like
petulance, General Secretary Madhav Nepal's resignation as party chief to take responsibility for the defeat appeared graceful and principled.43 The UML then
managed a prompt, smooth and democratic transfer of
power to a new leadership under Jhalanath Khanal - a
sign of party maturity the NC could never dream of.
(Not only is NC President Koirala incapable of contemplating resignation, he also refused to accept the
resignation of acting President Sushil Koirala - his
The UML does have to work out how to win back
cadres who have defected to the Maoists, but its major
problems are not internal. Rather, it faces invidious
choices related to its ideological positioning vis-a-vis
the CPN(M). Both parties are fighting for at least
some ofthe same political space and voters. Under its
new leadership, the UML has taken a more aggressively anti-Maoist stance,44 with General Secretary
Khanal instructing its members to stand up to the
Maoists in the CA and its youth wing announcing the
formation of a new nationwide force "to provide security to the youth, ordinary citizen and other communities who need protection from violent activities".45
The collapse ofthe UML's attempt to assert its dominance on the left has left it with few immediate options.46 Bamdev Gautam does not always speak for
the party mainstream, but his argument that it should
oppose Maoist extremism without allowing itself to
be forced to the right reflects an instinctive UML
view.47 However, his assessment that the UML should
not view the challenge as one of polarisation - greater
policy differentiation from the CPN(M) - but of
standing ground and sticking to principles may not
translate into electoral recovery. The UML has long
been a social democratic party in all but name (and
some ofthe rituals of communist-style organisation).
It may yet be that a more viable future would await it
if it rebranded itself. But the psychological leap this
would require is unlikely in the near term.
3.    Can they reform and recover?
There is plenty of potential for the major parties to
rejuvenate themselves, reconnect with voters and return strongly at the next election, but only if they are
willing to heed the message for change. If not, they
could rule themselves out of contention for power for
many years to come, following in the well trodden
steps of other grand old parties that have spent a decade or more in the wilderness before pulling themselves together - from India's Congress to both ofthe
UK's main parties and the French Socialists. Nepal's
voters have long demonstrated a desire for change,
but the two-party dominance made this look deceptively like short-term, anti-incumbent sentiment rather
than a wish for more radical transformation.
But meaningful reform does not depend solely on
grand policy decisions. Much of it is nuts and bolts.
Internal party democracy and better discipline could
reduce the trend, most sharply evident in the NC, towards internecine strife. More attention to involving
local activists in party decisions could start to rebuild
local structures. Making parties more representative
should not mean doing the bare minimum mandated
by new quotas forced on them by more progressive
opponents. Both main parties could take many small
steps towards these goals at their own initiative, even
if bigger ideological decisions will take time. The re-
43 Madhav Nepal has distinguished himself among the big
losers by limiting his public comments to modest and constructive suggestions. See, for example, "No one can rum
back rapid change, says Madhav Nepal",, 12
June 2008.
44 General Secretary Khanal ordered his party to retaliate
immediately to any attacks. "Ailagnemathi tatkal jailagnus",
Budhabar, 18 June 2006.
45 "CPN-UML to stand up to Maoists in CA", The Kathmandu Post, 5 June 2008.
46 Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai's harsh assessment ofthe
UML's prospects may be subjective but deserves consideration: "There will be only two major political parties in Nepal - Nepali Congress, leading the bourgeois and wealthy people on the one hand, and the Maoists, leading the progressive
and poor people. UML holds neither the characteristics of
poor nor the rich". "We will lead next govt: Dr Bhattarai",, 13 April 2008.
47"Itihasko kasima emale", Kantipur, 6 June 2008.
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 10
suits were embarrassing to both parties but could yet
serve as a last wake-up call - if leaders accept the
need to reform to win back voters' trust.
The international community could also help, but
only if major players recognise their partial culpability for the state ofthe parties. Outside powers spent
years pushing the NC and UML to bow to the king
and cautioning them off the "radical" Maoist agenda,
thus encouraging them to isolate themselves from the
electorate. This shielded them from the imperative to
develop responsive policies and enhanced their natural tendency to pay more attention to higher powers
(the king and powerful internationals, as well as the
army, to which they were in hock from the moment it
was mobilised) than to the citizens they had once been
elected to represent. As past elections and the prospect of future ones grew more distant, it is not surprising that ordinary people's aspirations took second
place to the immediate concerns of power politics.
Rejuvenated mainstream parties would benefit the
country immensely - both to play a critical but constructive role in the constitutional process and to offer
real competition and choice at the next election. Even
the Maoists have said repeatedly that truly competitive politics is essential to avoid stagnation and corruption. A substantial majority of people did not vote
Maoist and would presumably be keen to vote for
other parties reflecting their concerns. If the mainstream parties fail to live up to popular expectations,
it will be a disservice to such voters and may well tempt
more of them into the arms ofthe CPN(M), especially
if it proves its democratic credentials, or other parties
such as the MJF.
widely perceived as Delhi's pet project, may also
have sent a healthy signal that India cannot have its
own way even in the areas it feels are most pliable. In
any case, the message to the old parties is unambiguous: the days when they could expect passive support
without payback are over. The Madhesi wave has also
helped open the territory for other ethnic and regional
groups to pursue their agendas. Identity politics are
unlikely to go away.
Following a 1 June central committee meeting, the
MJF reiterated its principal demand of an autonomous
single Madhes province. It also proposed a strong executive president elected on the basis of multi-party
competition and directly elected provincial chief ministers, and stressed its long-standing demand for collective entry of Madhesis into the army, police, and
all government bodies on the basis oftheir proportion
of the total population.48 Other Madhesi parties are
likely to support all these policies.49
Shorter term developments may hinge on how much
the MJF can make of its potential kingmaker role. It
could be sidelined, but where larger parties are divided,
its votes could make a crucial difference - no wonder
it was quick to float the idea of a simple majority vote
for government formation, which would greatly add
to its leverage. Even without that, it has enough CA
delegates to wield some clout and has an irresistible
moral claim to representation in government. It also
offers the strongest argument for ending in practice,
and perhaps also in the text of the interim constitution, the governing seven-party coalition's exclusive
ownership of constitutionally defined "consensus".50
B. The Arrival of the Madhesi Parties
The Madhesi parties have arrived and are here to stay,
although it is too early to make confident predictions
oftheir future configuration. The MJF certainly made
the most of its head-start, but the TMDP and Sadbhavana Party cannot be ruled out of stronger contention over time. In any case, the current formation
looks like only the first round of the battle for representation. Dalits, Muslims and Tarai minorities have
yet to form or find parties to promote their interests
(although the CPN(M) has started the process). The
experience of neighbouring Indian states suggests that
further flux is almost inevitable.
The MJF's refusal to support a broad alliance may
have harmed the overall Madhesi tally but did not hurt
the cause as badly as many analysts had expected. It
may also have given a boost to productive competition. The relatively poor performance of the TMDP,
"MPRF for autonomous province", The Rising Nepal, 4
June 2008.
49On the TMDP and MJF's post-election outlook, see '"Keep
out of Tarai affairs', Interview with Hridayesh Tripathi,
TMDP", The Kathmandu Post, 9 June 2008; and '"Nothing
except one Madhes', Interview with Jaya Prakash Gupta,
MJF", The Kathmandu Post, 9 June 2008.
50 In this report, the term "seven parties" refers to the governing coalition of six parliamentary parties and the Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoist, CPN(M)). The "six parties" are the
continuation of the Seven-Party Alliance, whose membership was reduced when the Nepali Congress and Nepali
Congress (Democratic) reunited. Past Crisis Group reporting
referred to this alliance as the SPA, a term that is now widely
used to refer to the six plus the CPN(M) - although there is
no "alliance" binding them. The six parties are the Nepali
Congress (NC); Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist, UML); Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi,
NSP(A)); Janamorcha Nepal; Nepal Workers and Peasants
Party (NWPP); and United Left Front (ULF).
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Page 11
C. Changes at the Fringes
The crushing defeat of the royalist parties, which
failed to win a single FPTP seat between them, was
underlined by the easy overthrow of top leaders such
as Pashupati Shamsher Rana (RPP), Surya Bahadur
Thapa (RJP) and Kamal Thapa (RPP(Nepal)).51 In
fact, the "royalists" were almost all quick to abandon
the king to his fate. Despite manifesto calls for the
people to have a "direct" say in the future ofthe monarchy,52 the RPP and RJP both voted for the republic
proposal at the CA's first sitting. Only the RPP (Nepal) maintained the courage of its convictions and voted
against, registering a note of dissent. But even it has
started having second thoughts, with strong criticism
of Kamal Thapa and calls for a rethink of the main
platform at its post-republic central committee meeting.53 "RPP-N is a democratic party", explained Chandra
Bahadur Gurung, who has voiced its dissent in the
CA. "It will respect the people's verdict... .It is necessary for us to move forward by accepting the republic".54
With 25 parties represented in the CA, there is more
political diversity than ever, but it remains to be seen
how that will affect the well-worn patterns of national
politics. The thirteen larger parties quickly organised
themselves into a grouping,55 leaving the twelve smaller
parties to form a similar caucus to challenge their
dominance.56 Among the smaller parties, two features
stand out. First, the multiple small communist splinter
parties continue to show a surprising resilience, with
several represented despite a series of recent splits.
Secondly, the arrival of some ethnic/regional parties,
in particular the Rashtriya Janamukti Party, indicates
that identity politics exists beyond the Tarai. It may
yet make itself felt more sharply, both at the national
level and perhaps especially at the regional level as
and when federalism is implemented. These parties
may also help focus attention on issues such as quotas
and reservations - and keep up pressure on the old
parties to reform themselves.
51 RJP leader Surya Bahadur Thapa appeared to foresee this,
cautioning before the election that "people aren't happy with
us [RJP, RPP, RPP-N] going separately - we can't meet expectations" and preparing for a tough contest: "Elections are
about winning and losing. I've lost before - it doesn't scare
me". Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, 16 March 2008.
52 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Election and Beyond, op.
cit, p. 4.
53"Raprapa nepaldvara ganatantra svikar", Naya Patrika, 4
June 2008.
54"Seven parties reluctant to accept the shift: Chandra Bahadur Gurung", People'sReview, 19 June 2008.
55 The grouping of thirteen larger parties includes the NC,
UML, CPN(M), Janamorcha Nepal, MJF, TMDP, Sadbhavana Party, CPN(ML), RPP, National People's Front, CPN
(United), NWPP and NSP(A).
56 See "Stop playing power games, 12 fringe parties tell bigger parties",, 6 June 2008.
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Page 12
By the morning of 12 April 2008, the potential for a
Maoist victory was becoming clear. The Maoists had
won five seats, with the UML and NC bagging only
two and one respectively. The Maoists were leading
in a further five Kathmandu seats and in over 40 constituencies from which partial results were emerging -
compared to around a dozen leads each for the NC
and UML. By the time the Election Commission (EC)
held a press conference later in the morning, the Maoists were ahead in 56 ofthe 102 constituencies where
counting was underway. Before nightfall, Prachanda
had won from Kathmandu-10, and the CPN(M) had 26
seats in the bag, including clean sweeps of Bardiya,
Dang and Makwanpur districts.
Endorsements from international observers continued
(including from the Socialist International, of which the
NC is a member), and parties and commentators were
adjusting to the unexpected turn of events. Madhav
Kumar Nepal resigned as UML general secretary and
Sushil Koirala as NC acting president (although his
resignation was rejected by party leader G.P. Koirala).
Formerly hostile newspapers hailed the "Maoist wave";57
commentators on the staunchly royalist and anti-Maoist
People's Review fell over themselves to offer glowing
encomiums. The press and airwaves were awash with
mea culpa?, from analysts who had confidently predicted
a crushing Maoist defeat. The Maoists themselves
were quick to be magnanimous in victory, assuring
the business community and international powers that
they were keen to work in partnership.
However, as the CPN(M) tally climbed higher, the
graceful losers turned sour. On the sixth morning after
the vote, former UML leader Nepal conceded defeat in
the second constituency he had stood for. His party
pulled out from the government and, despite Prachanda's entreaty to Prime Minister Koirala to collaborate,
NC leaders started publicly urging their party not to
"Groundswell for Maoists" was the Kathmandu Post's
banner cover headline, 13 April 2008; its sister paper, Kantipur, Nepal's largest selling daily, had already hailed the
"people's wave" for the Maoists. "Maovadi pakshama janla-
har", 12 April 2008. A rival newspaper described how the
Maoists "continued with their winning streak ... and scored
several stunning upsets". "Maoists poised for landslide win",
Himalayan Times, 13 April 2008.
join a Maoist-led administration.58 Formerly hostile
commentators, prompted in part by evidence of continued Maoist violence, moved to resume their former
stance that the CPN(M) still had to pass further tests
before it could prove itself worthy of power.
The changed attitudes to the election results were the
most notable feature ofthe return to a "normal" Kathmandu perspective. Losing party leaders who had initially accepted their defeat realised that the statistics
could be reinterpreted to tell a different story. The
Maoists had only won just over 30 per cent ofthe vote
- and that too on a 60 per cent turnout. This meant
that the "non-Maoists" could claim they represented
almost 80 per cent ofthe population. In any case, NC
and UML leaders started complaining more vocally
that the Maoists had cheated and that any apparent
victory was stolen.59 As parties and their supporters in
the media tried to turn the clock back, they set new
criteria for the Maoists to claim a place in government.60 The critical difference of a popular mandate
was put to one side, as the Maoists' opponents resurrected the traditional tactics of appealing to higher
powers instead ofthe electorate, focusing their efforts
on New Delhi and other potential powerbrokers.
For India, the elections were a bitter-sweet triumph.
They marked a resounding success for the peace
process it had helped craft and an endorsement for the
very public urging that they should take place. But the
results looked to many like an embarrassing snub for
the parties New Delhi had apparently backed and expected to emerge on top.61 Senior Indian officials
welcomed developments and put a brave face on the
unexpected outcome. In the words of prime ministe-
"Party shouldn't join new govt: NC leaders", ekantipur.
com, 16 April 2008.
59 See, for example, "Maoists' threats affected free and fair
polls, says Deuba",, 16 April 2008.
60 The hostile media has not been entirely negative towards
the Maoists. On the morning after the republic declaration,
the Kathmandu Post's front-page editorial was magnanimous: "The first and foremost credit for the republic goes to
none other than the Maoists. Though the Post never agreed
with the violent methods the Maoists adopted, it would be
unjust not to recognise their role in bringing this day about".
"Republic at last!", The Kathmandu Post, 29 May 2008.
61 Most controversially, India's National Security Adviser,
M.K. Narayanan, used a pre-election television interview to
underline New Delhi's particular preference for the Nepali
Congress. See Dhruba Adhikary, "A Maoist in Nepal's Palace", Asia Times, 19 April 2008.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
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Page 13
rial special envoy and former ambassador to Nepal
Shyam Saran:
Several people in India have asked whether the
government was not caught by surprise by the
election results and whether these do not constitute
a setback for India's Nepal policy. I am surprised
by these comments, not because we were not surprised at the results but because people seem to
think that our surprise was an unpleasant one.
There seems to be an assumption that the Indian
Government had a preferred electoral outcome and
put its bets, much like a punter, on different horses.
Let me make it clear. Throughout the peace process in Nepal, India has not played favourites with
this or that political party. Our stand has been that
it is for the people of Nepal to deliver, through free
and fair elections, their verdict on who should
govern them and in what manner.62
This frank assessment is not disingenuous: it is entirely
in line with his and other diplomats' public and private comments since the start ofthe peace process.63
"For the sake of Nepal we need an election. The result
is immaterial", outgoing Indian ambassador Shiv
Shankar Mukherjee had observed before the poll. "India would like to see a democratic government, even
if it is ofthe extreme left".64 Nevertheless, New Delhi
had great difficulty digesting the results.65
India's public responses to the new political reality
have been measured and constructive, calling for respect for the results and consensus on a Maoist-led
coalition government.66 However, it appears to have
lost none of its appetite for interventionist micro-
management and remains happy to shield the Nepal
Army (NA) from democratic reform. It reacted calmly
to the Maoists' call to renegotiate the 1950 Treaty of
Peace and Friendship, which many Nepalis have long
considered biased in India's favour.67 Former ambassadors have weighed in with supportive comments to
urge a cool-headed approach to improving bilateral relations. "Our role has to be people-centric rather than
personalised and personality-centric, as has been the
case in the past", observed a former ambassador, Deb
Mukharji, at a New Delhi policy seminar. "The Indian
government should now deal with Nepal on a state-to-
state basis with greater transparency. This will improve the relations between the two countries".68
India's stance on Nepal has many domestic ramifications, as different constituencies have clearly perceived
interests and positions. New Delhi's willingness to
engage the CPN(M) since mid-2005 and encourage it
to enter open politics is particularly sensitive at a time
when India's Maoists are on the offensive. In Chhat-
tisgarh state, they have for the first time announced
the establishment of a parallel "revolutionary government", a step similar to the CPN(M)'s establishment
of its United Revolutionary People's Council.69 They
also appear to be following the CPN(M) lead in adding an urban focus to their formerly rural-based
movement, with one senior leader reportedly saying
that "if we fail to build our movement in the cities, the
revolution will remain a dream".70
The Maoist victory was welcomed by Indian leftists.
The most important left party, the CPI(Marxist),
which supports the governing United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition from outside government and
has been closely involved in Nepal's peace process,
hailed the results as "a clear and unambiguous verdict
against the monarchy and for the transition towards a
democratic republic". Noting the CPN(M)'s "impres-
Shyam Saran, "Nepal's Political Transformation and Future of India-Nepal Relations", keynote address to Seminar
on Emerging Trends in India-Nepal Relations, Patna, 26 April
2008, at
63 Crisis Group interviews, passim.
64Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, 14 March 2008.
65 Crisis Group interviews, Indian policymakers, retired officials and Nepal analysts, New Delhi, 18 April 2008.
66 "Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has called on
the political parties of Nepal to forge consensus to deal with
the major political issues. During a meeting with Nepalese
ambassador Dr Durgesh Man Singh in New Delhi, Monday,
the Indian prime minister expressed satisfaction over the way
political issues have been sorted out in the country. 'India is
happy that Nepal's parties are moving ahead constructively',
he is said to have told the Nepalese envoy. 'The parties
should make every effort to build an inclusive Nepal', the
envoy quoted the Indian PM as saying". "Indian PM backs
consensus in Nepal",, 10 June 2008.
The treaty implicitly restricts Nepal's ability to import arms
by stating that Nepal shall be free to do so but that "the procedure for giving effect to this arrangement shall be worked out
by the two Governments acting in consultation" - a condition
that reflects India's tacit assumption that Nepal falls within
its security umbrella. The full text of the treaty is at
do-nepal_treaty_peace.htm. For a well informed Nepali take
on India's role see Manjushree Thapa, "India in its Nepali
backyard", openDemocracy, 2 May 2008, at www.
68 "Nepal at a critical juncture", report of a seminar at the
Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, 17 May 2008, at
report/ReportDetail.html?cmaid= 14579&mmacmaid= 14580.
69Sanjay Basak, "Maoists proclaim own 'govt'", The Asian
Age, 31 May 2008.
70 Sanjay Basak, "Maoist rebels begin urban push", The Asian
Age, 11 June 2008.
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Page 14
sive performance", it urged the Indian government to
"make it clear that it has nothing in common with the
negative and hostile stand taken by USA, which declared the Maoists to be a terrorist organisation".71 Indian leftists have joined together to pressure the government to encourage formation of a Maoist-led
The Hindu right, however, has been seething. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) railed that the
government "has been derelict of its duties; violative
of its oath of office to safeguard the country's interests;
and has abdicated its responsibility by outsourcing its
foreign and security polices to the Communists".
While expressing "satisfaction" at Nepal's elections,
it underscored "the need for great restraint in the utterances and conduct ofthe CPN(M) as they had only
about a third of the popular vote and that, too, obtained through intimidation".73 The BJP's concerns
are stoked by its perception that Nepal's politics can
affect domestic and regional stability. As party leader
L.K. Advani put it:
Terrorism and religious extremism are being
stoked by anti-India forces in our neighbourhood.
And they are helped by a weak response from the
government. A section ofthe youth is being misled
by political ideologies that believe in violence and
have a deep aversion towards our nation's cultural
and spiritual heritage. This can be seen from the
spread of Naxalite groups over a large geographical area. The victory of Maoists in Nepal is a worrisome development for India.74
Behind much of this rhetoric is a fear of China's quietly growing power. "In all development activities Delhi
must be the first, last and ever-willing neighbour to
help Nepal and to keep China out under any and every
circumstance", wrote a columnist for the Rashtriiya
Swayamsevak Sangh mouthpiece, voicing the Hindutva
right's alarm. "For India to have an overly Sino-
friendly Pakistan as a neighbour is bad enough. We
cannot afford to have a Hindu but newly-secularised
Nepal to use China to embarrass India".75
Nevertheless, even the Hindutva fringe has a realistic
streak. King Gyanendra's most loyal supporter, the
World Hindu Federation, announced that it was no
longer royalist, since the king had accepted the people's verdict, and would now concentrate on fighting
secularism instead.76 Prominent BJP ally and Bihar
chief minister Nitish Kumar hailed the CA elections
as a "turning point in Nepal's history", when he welcomed delegates to an Indo-Nepal seminar in his state
capital. The thrust of his remarks was pragmatic, mutual self-interest, making a determined push for Nepal
to work with India on developing water resources:
"Indo-Nepal cooperation is of paramount importance
for the optimum utilisation of water and overall development ofthe region".77
India's close involvement in every aspect of Nepal's
politics shows no signs of diminution; nor does the
scope of its influence appear to have been particularly
harmed or boosted by the election.78 For all the outpourings of commentary and analysis, the future of Nepal-India relations looks mainly like more ofthe same.
C. The Other International Players
1.    China
Nepal's other giant neighbour has always been less
voluble and visible in its dealings with Nepal but is
no less keen to secure its national interests. Long suspicious of the CPN(M) - and embarrassed by its use
of the "Maoist" tag - China was quick to shift policy
after the April 2006 people's movement and step up
engagement. Maoist spokesperson K.B. Mahara visited Beijing in the first week of June 2008 and reported that he was encouraged by his meetings with
government and party officials. However, this does
Press statement, Communist Party of India (Marxist), 16
April 2008.
72 Gopal Khanal, "Dahallai pradhanmantri banauna dabab
samiti", Kantipur, 13 June 2008. Members ofthe group reportedly include CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Nationalist
Congress general secretary D.P. Tripathi and CPI national
secretary D. Raja, all of whom have long taken a personal
interest in Nepal's peace process.
73 "Foreign Policy - National Security and UPA's Disastrous
Governance", Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive,
parliamentary deposition, 1-2 June 2008, at www.bjp.
74L.K. Advani, convocation address at the Gurukul Kangri
Vishwavidyalaya, Hardwar, 7 June 2008, at www.bjp.
M.V. Kamath, "Nepal's tryst with destiny", Organiser, 1
June 2008 at
76 "Hindu group deserts king, but rejects secular state", The
Kathmandu Post, 4 June 2008.
77 Nitish Kumar, inaugural speech to seminar on "Emerging
Trends in India-Nepal Relations", Patna, 26 April 2008, at
78On India's post-election diplomatic activities, including a
run-down of Ambassador Rakesh Sood's talks with key
players, see Tilk Pathak, "Maovaditira dhalkiyo dilli", Nepal, 22 June 2008. The Indian embassy has rebutted media
allegations that its envoy overstepped diplomatic norms. See
letters, The Kathmandu Post, 20 June 2008.
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Page 15
not mean that China will rush to embrace the CPN(M)
if this might upset its relations with other parties.79
Ambassador Zheng Xianglin has been at pains to
stress the continuity in China's policy:
China's good-neighbourly and friendly policy to
Nepal is consistent. As a good neighbour and
friend of Nepal, we sincerely hope that Nepal continues to move forward with the peace process and
enjoy political stability and economic progress.
The Chinese Government adheres to the principle
of non-interference into the internal affairs of other
countries, and respects the choice made by Nepalese people on its social system and development
road in light of its own national conditions. We are
ready to make joint efforts with Nepal to promote
the bilateral friendly relations and cooperation....
China respects the choice of Nepalese people, and
is willing to develop friendly relations with all political parties, including the CPN (Maoist).80
The CPN(M) has taken a stridently pro-Beijing line in
the face of Tibetan protests in Kathmandu. This is not
exceptional: all major parties are scared to offend
China, and pro-Beijing leftists like the UML have long
made near identical statements. Prachanda is reportedly keen to visit China, including Mao's home village for "inspiration". He says that Mahara's visit was
laying the ground for a trip of his own and stresses
that in international relations, ideology will "not be a
barrier".81 China continues to emphasise that it is for
Nepal to choose its own political system and "development path", a message that was reportedly repeated
by Wang Jiarui, head ofthe Chinese Communist Party's
international department, to Mahara in Beijing.82
2.    The United States
The U.S. has maintained its strong support for political pluralism while gradually building contacts with
the Maoists. It welcomed both the elections and the
republic declaration.83 Ex-President Carter criticised
One commentator, generally sceptical of the CPN(M),
warned that Mahara's diplomacy had "backfired" and that
Beijing was planning to invite a senior UML delegation rather
than more Maoist leaders. Sushil Sharma, "Picture imperfect", Spotlight, 13 June 2008.
80 "Nepal, China trust and respect each other: Ambassador
Zheng", The Rising Nepal, 16 June 2008.
81 "Nepal leader eager to visit China", China News, 13 June
2008, at
82"China says it respects Nepal's choice of political system",, 3 June 2008.
83"United States Congratulates People of Nepal", U.S. embassy, Kathmandu, 11 April 2008. The U.S. welcomed "the
the slow pace of Washington's shift in perspective:
"It's been somewhat embarrassing to me and frustrating to see the United States refuse among all the other
nations in the world, including the United Nations, to
deal with the Maoists, when they did make major
steps away from combat and away from subversion
into an attempt at least to play an equal role in a political society".84
However, the U.S. has taken quiet steps to reorient its
policy. Following informal contacts, U.S. Ambassador
Nancy Powell held a first meeting with the Maoist leadership on 1 May 2008. When Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Dr
Evan A. Feigenbaum visited Nepal on 24-26 May, he
met Prachanda and reportedly held a fruitful discussion. Prachanda requested the U.S. to continue economic
assistance and to support Maoist efforts to introduce a
"new model of development".85 In terms of democracy promotion, the U.S.'s main policy priorities are
clear: "consolidation of gains in the peace process,
promotion of security sector reform and the rule of
law, and strengthening democratic institutions".86
3.    The United Nations
Domestic commentary on the successful election has
tended to refer to the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN)
only in terms of its widely expected imminent demise.
This is neither fair nor constructive. UNMIN has
given cause for some of the bad publicity it has generated - there is truth to the feeling that it is overstaffed and resourced given the narrowness of its
mandate. However, that mandate was the decision of
Nepal's political leaders, and UNMIN's role in enabling the elections to happen was critical. Beyond
technical assistance, which many election officials
privately praised,87 its work as a neutral referee has
Constituent Assembly's first step in defining a new, democratic Nepal with the declaration of a republic on May 28",
press statement, U.S. embassy, Kathmandu, 29 May 2008.
84"Nepal's Maoists gain first seats", BBC News, 12 April 2008.
85"U.S. official meets Prachanda",, 26 May
2008. A Voice of America (VOA) editorial reflecting the
views ofthe U.S. government quoted Feigenbaum as saying
the decision to abolish the monarchy and form a Constituent
Assembly was a "very historic leap for Nepal". He added
that the next government should reflect the will of the Nepalese people as expressed in the election. "Milestone for Nepal", VOA News, 9 June 2008.
86"Advancing Freedom and Democracy Reports - 2008",
U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights,
and Labor, 23 May 2008, at
87 Crisis Group interviews, district election officers (DEOs)
and other officials, various districts, March-April 2008.
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Page 16
kept a useful check on the political process, as well as
enabling more coordinated international support.
"UNMIN has on the whole been pretty helpful - and
the establishment of OHCHR [the Nepal Office ofthe
High Commissioner for Human Rights] was even
more useful and influential back then than UNMIN is
now", was a typical observation from a senior NC
politician. "If Nepal does hold free, fair and credible
elections, international actors should be thanked. But
they're too big - for the money that's been spent,
what have they achieved?"88
Nepal's government ministers and civil servants understandably bristle at any suggestion of undue external pressure or interference but are not unappreciative
of the UN contribution. As Foreign Secretary Gyan
Chandra Acharya commented, "moral support from
the international community has been helpful, but
progress, modalities and speed must be set by the
Nepalese people themselves, and outsiders should respect the state structure that we do have".89 This basic
approach is likely to guide consideration of any continued UN role. While UNMIN prepares to wind
down its operations in preparation for the 23 July
2008 expiry of its Security Council mandate, there are
some areas where its role is still needed and could not
readily be filled by other bodies. Most critical is the
monitoring of arms and armies. The basic problem
that there is no easy exit for UNMIN until the issue of
PLA integration has been resolved remains as true as
ever (see below). Maoist leaders have always been
privately keen to see some continued UN presence
and have occasionally said so in public.90
The post-election transition was contentious and prolonged. For this there were three main reasons: the interim constitution was unclear or ambiguous in many
of its transitional provisions, leaving room for deadlock; its entire approach was based on the assumption
of seven-party consensus, a concept both exclusive
and elusive; and the pre-election calculations of all
parties other than the CPN(M) were predicated on a
crushing Maoist defeat, and none were prepared to
follow the rules they had written when assuming they
would still be in charge.
A. The Last-minute Republic
The interim constitution required the prime minister
to summon the first sitting of the CA within 21 days
ofthe declaration of final results.91 Although there was
some uncertainty over how to define "final results",
there was eventual (unstated) consensus that it was
not the 25 April EC final declaration but rather the
point at which the parties' selections for individuals
to fill their PR seats were approved. This happened on
8 May and the prime minister duly summoned the
first sitting for 28 May, just within the deadline.
In the end, the republic dawned well after dusk. As
the scheduled time of 1 lam slipped past, party leaders
were still locked in frantic negotiations over the form
ofthe motion to be put to the CA and the shape of interim state structures. The assembly finally convened
after 9pm, and the result of the vote came in after
11pm. The 26 nominated members were not yet in
place, a minor point but symbolic of the continuing
lack of consensus and respect for procedure.92 Only
Crisis Group interview, NC leader, 12 March 2008.
89 Crisis Group interview, 13 March 2008.
90"Bhattarai sees UNMIN's role until NA-PLA integration",, 12 June 2008.
Interim Constitution, Art. 69(1). See Crisis Group Report,
Nepal's Election and Beyond, op. cit, pp. 17, 20.
92 There have been complaints that the parties seem to have
forgotten their promise to use the 26 nominees to bring in
ethnic groups unrepresented in the CA through election.
"NEFIN [Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities] disgruntled over parties' sharing 26 CA seats",,
27 May 2008. This had been written into the December 2007
23-point agreement, which stated that "Amendments [to the
interim constitution] shall be made such that the nominated
26 people shall also include those indigenous Janajatis not
represented through election". Article 2, unofficial English
translation, at
2007-12-24-23 .Point.Agreement.SPA.ENG.pdf. After the parties had nominated their winning PR candidates, NEFIN calculated that twenty groups were still unrepresented. "Ethnic
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Page 17
one congratulatory message from abroad was read
out, that of India's parliament speaker, Somnath Chat-
terjee. The vote itself was overwhelming (460-4), but
the procedure was bizarre, with an hour wasted in a
Westminster-style division (with members trooping
off into separate lobbies for "aye" and "nay") and
those opposed to the motion only allowed to register
their objections once the vote had taken place, but before the result was announced.93
The motion on the republic was short and simple.94 It
ousted Gyanendra and confirmed that he and his family would only enjoy the status of ordinary citizens. It
declared that Narayanhiti Palace would be converted
into a national museum, and Nepal would henceforth
be known as a federal democratic republic. On other
details, it was silent. The CA adopted interim procedures and passed a further constitutional amendment
paving the way for a ceremonial presidency but did
not spell out additional details.95
It was not clear how the king would react to his dismissal. As even one of his loyal adherents commented, "most observers following the story - tragic
to some, joyous to others - remained unsure about
which way the cat would jump when the fateful hour
was struck".96 A commentator from the other side of
the political spectrum expressed similar feelings:
"There had been suspicions and apprehensions regarding the implementation of the constitutional provision. The doubt was valid, as some parties were not
very willing to put an end to the monarchy".97 Well-
sourced reports that have subsequently emerged suggest that frantic negotiations to save some role for the
king continued between the palace, the army and the
prime minister till the last minute.98
In the end, the king had little choice. Haggling over
his future privileges and dragging his feet over return-
groups not represented in the CA",
93 For a good analysis of the procedural contempt this sequence of events suggested, see Shiva Gaule, "Vidhiko
upeksha", Kantipur, 1 June 2008.
94For the full text, see Appendix C below.
95"Samvidhansabha baithakko antarim karyavidhi, 2065"
and "Nepalko anatrim samvidhan, 2063 ko chautho samshod-
han", Parliament Secretariat, 29 May 2008. An unofficial
translation of this amendment is at
96M.R. Josse, "The enigma of G. Shah's 'graceful' exit",
People's Review, 12 June 2008.
97 Yuba Nath Lamsal, "Republic of Nepal: People Are Masters of Their Destiny", The Rising Nepal, 4 June 2008.
98 Sudheer Sharma, "Nabhaeko raktapat", Nepal, 15 June 2008.
ing the crown and sceptre, it looked as though Gyanendra might turn his exit into an embarrassingly
petulant saga. His behaviour even prompted the
West's most ardently monarchist daily newspaper to
urge him to go with grace.99 Press speculation, backed
by comment from informed academics, suggested that
the palace was home to important historical documents as well as other heritage items.100 Ironically, the
only palace secret to receive belated confirmation was
the continued hidden existence of King Tribhuvan's
former mistress, reputed to be Gyanendra's grandmother. She, along with Gyanendra's stepmother, will
be allowed to continue residing in the palace grounds.
Gyanendra himself departed for his country retreat
(granted temporarily by the government) on 11 June.
He held a farewell press conference, in which he reiterated the pain he felt at wrongful accusations of having been involved in the June 2001 palace massacre,
defended his efforts for the nation and pledged to
abide by the people's verdict and remain in the country playing a constructive role.101 His statement, delivered amid the hubbub of an excited crowd of journalists in no mood to respect the occasion, offered a
bathetic end to the Shah dynasty's rule.
"Last month Nepal was declared a republic, and as far as
removing a royal family is concerned, it was all very civilised.
The incoming government won power at the ballot box, rather
than with violence, and (following a parliamentary vote) gave
King Gyanendra two weeks to vacate his Kathmandu palace.
What a shame the process is now turning sour. The government is asking for the King's crown (not his head). Gyanendra, however, appears to be in a huff, and there are concerns that
he will replace the crown's diamonds with fake ones (if it is
ever returned). The saga has the hallmarks of the worst divorces, and it is an undignified end to the House of Shah (established in 1769). We are believers in constitutional monarchy but, given that Nepal's people have spoken, perhaps
what is now required is an etiquette book on how deposed
royals should bow out gracefully". "King Gyanendra of Nepal should go with grace", Daily Telegraph, 10 June 2008, at'main.jhtrnl?xml=/opinion/
100 Some reports suggested palace staff had destroyed records
("Jalaie darbarka kagajpatra", Naya Patrika, 1 June 2008),
but this was denied. However, respected historians believe
many historical documents and artefacts are in the palace's
keeping. See Balkrishna Basnet, "Narayanhitibhitra ke-ke
chhan?", Kantipur, 1 June 2008.
101 An unofficial translation ofthe statement was published in
the Himalayan Times, 12 June 2008.
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B.  The New Government:
Consensus or Competition?
Despite the interim constitution's vagueness over
transitional arrangements, the other post-election steps
could have been straightforward.102 All major parties
were publicly committed to continuing consensus -
the UML most explicitly so, stating in its manifesto:
the government "will be formed under the leadership
ofthe largest party on the basis of proportional representation", implying that any party with sufficient seats
could expect cabinet posts and should accept them.103
The NC similarly stressed the need for extended
Seven Party Alliance collaboration in the run-up to
the election. Until it lost, it was happy to emphasise to
all other parties that the CA polls were "not a matter
of winning and losing". Prime Minister Koirala emphasised that there should be a coalition government
even ifthe NC were to win a majority and appealed to
other parties to join in.104 He did not, of course, address
the possibility ofthe NC trailing in a distant second.
The weeks after the elections provided some grounds
for optimism. Despite the sometimes bitter fights over
next steps, inter-party talks did not break down entirely.
The existing government - which remains in place
until it resigns or a new one is formed - even managed to take some sensible decisions, such as the controversial, but unavoidable, raising of fuel prices on 9
June. All parties showed a mixture of intransigence
and flexibility, hallmarks of behaviour throughout the
peace process which has hindered, but never entirely
prevented, agreement.
The major problem was that, as predicted, powerful
losers were not ready to accept the results. The only
surprise was that the losers in question were neither
the Maoists (who won) nor the king (who lost but
conceded defeat) but the NC and UML.105 Defeat
paradoxically increased their sense of rightful ownership of their privileged place in government. The NC
in particular - happy to occupy all key ministries
throughout the post-people's movement period as
well as the prime ministership and acting head of state
- decided the time was ripe to rewrite the laws it had
written when expecting victory. It saw no need to lose
the game if it could change the rules instead.
Debate then concentrated on two central issues. The
first was the provision for government formation and
removal. The interim constitution, following the consensus model used through the pre-election period,
demanded a two-thirds majority. Given that the
CPN(M) commands more than one third of the CA,
other parties feared that once it was in government, no
one could remove it. The Maoists argued that unexpected results alone did not add up to a principled
case to amend the constitution. They also feared that a
simple-majority rule would encourage votes of no
confidence designed to destabilise any government
they led. On both points they were probably right;
nevertheless, they offered a degree of flexibility.
The second issue was that of the head of state. The
non-Maoist parties felt that the Maoists' share ofthe
total vote (under one third) did not entitle them to
claim both prime ministership and presidency.106 They
also argued the Maoists could not take command of
the army while still retaining their own PLA. Both
were reasonable concerns, as was the Maoist's worry
that any head of state with residual powers, however
ceremonial, could also undermine them, in extremis
by taking command of the army or exercising emergency powers. At an abstract level, this deadlock
could have been easily resolved. However, it also involved the question of who would fill the post.
The CPN(M) had campaigned on a clear commitment
to installing Prachanda as president, so could justly
claim a popular mandate. The NC had no prior position, but rather than wrong-footing the Maoists by
proposing a talented alternative candidate, such as the
former deputy speaker, Chitralekha Yadav, it was
clear that Koirala had his own eyes on the post - even
when he said he would not stoop to wearing the
president's "tattered clothes".107 In a short address to
The interim constitution's provisions on the formation of
a post-election government were far from specific. See Crisis
Group Report, Nepal's Election and Beyond, op. cit, pp. 19-20.
103 UML manifesto, p. 38.
104 G.P. Koirala, address at NC manifesto launch, NC headquarters, Lalitpur, 13 March 2008.
105 "The two major parties of the democratic era make the
most credible-sounding commitments to abide by the results.
Nevertheless, surprisingly poor showings could prompt either
to complain about an unfair environment or technical irregularities". Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Election and Beyond,
op. cit, p. 18.
The NC did not comment on how much mileage it had
made out of its 36 per cent share ofthe vote in the 1999 elections which, delivering it an absolute majority of seats under
the FPTP system, has been the justification for it remaining
at the head of almost all governments since, with the interruption of two periods of royal rule. For past results, see
107"Others talk of a position [the presidency]. For me any
position is tattered clothes. They're not for me to wear". "Sa-
hakarya anivarya: pradhanmantri", Kantipur, 9 June 2008.
He went on to explain that "he would rather head a post that
has powef. "Republic not any party's victory: PM', The
Kathmandu Post, 9 June 2008.
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Page 19
the CA's first sitting, he had told the assembly, "today
my dream has come true" (magnanimously adding
that others might also share his dream), before promising "I will take my leave from you now but not forever - I will be with you to the end".108 Indeed, he
kept up a determined campaign to retain power until
promising on 26 June that he would step down as
soon as a president was in place to accept his formal
The NC and UML supported their push to keep control over the process by setting conditions for cooperating with the Maoists. Some were reasonable (asking
the CPN(M) to live up to its former commitments);
others were not.109 But the underlying case was clear:
winning an election was not enough to make the Maoists "eligible" to lead a government.110 Maoist supporters understood this well enough: "The two parties
that had dominated parliament under the monarchy
are trying to corner the Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist) into accepting a situation in which they retain control over key levers ofthe existing state".111
As the haggling went on, there was no progress on any
front. The CA convened for the second time on 6 June
but immediately re-adjourned to allow party leaders'
negotiations to continue. On 11 June, it still had nothing to debate, and members of smaller parties complained it was being treated as a rubber stamp. At its
next meeting, on 18 June, it adjourned indefinitely for
lack of any agenda. Further promised meetings have
been repeatedly postponed.
G.P. Koirala, address to the CA's first sitting, Kathmandu,
28 May 2008.
109 The NC set seven preconditions for its support to a Maoist-
led government. These included: dissolution of the Maoist
people's liberation army (PLA), people's courts, people's government, semi-military structure of the Young Communist
League (YCL), return of the property looted or captured by
the Maoists, rehabilitation of people displaced and an end to
intimidation, threats and extortion. NC seven points: press
release, 12 May 2008. The NC's central working committee
had been meeting at the prime minister's residence since 24
April; this press release published its decisions. The UML
made similar demands. The MJF also set conditions, primarily that past agreements must be implemented, any interim
constitutional amendments must reflect the deals done with
Madhesis, and the Maoists must specify the form of federal
units in the Madhes. "MPRF forwards preconditions for joining Maoist-led govt", The Kathmandu Post, 4 June 2008.
110 "NC, UML to give Maoists 7 days to prove eligibility",
The Kathmandu Post, 4 June 2008.
111 "Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal declared, Assembly deadlocked", A World To Win News Service, 2 June
A. The Heart of the Power Struggle:
1.    The problem
The NC and UML were not just putting on an epic
display of sour grapes. The Maoist victory had left
them with no policy on the issue at the heart of the
power struggle: the security sector. There has been no
discussion on this critical topic, even as both the NA
and the PLA remain at full strength - an unaffordable
and inherently unstable situation. The May 2006 proclamation ofthe restored parliament had called for the
establishment of a new National Security Council and
supporting secretariat, but this has not materialised in
practice.112 There has been no effort to develop the
defence ministry as anything more than an understaffed post-box for the army.113 There have been no
meetings ofthe interim legislature's "146 committee"
that was set up under the terms ofthe Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA) to discuss the future of the
two armies.114
The proclamation declared: "The existing provision regarding the National Security Council has been repealed. There
shall be a National Security Council under the chairmanship
of the Prime Minister in order to control, use and mobilise
the Nepalese Army". House of Representatives proclamation,
19 May 2006, Section 3.2, at
113There is a one-page description ofthe defence ministry's putative duties available online. Its URL indicates clearly enough
its subservience to the army it is supposed to control: of defence
114The Special Committee for the Integration and Rehabilitation ofthe Combatants ofthe Maoist Army (the "146 Committee") specified in the CPA was finally established on 21
May 2007 but only met once before in effect dissolving itself. The new National Security Council was established on
22 August 2007 but exists only on paper. The government
has taken no action on the CPA calls to prepare a "detailed
action plan" for NA democratisation and resizing, including
"tasks such as determining the right number of the Nepali
Army, preparing the democratic structure reflecting the national and inclusive character and training them as per the
democratic principles and values ofthe human rights". CPA
4.7. The foregoing sentences are reproduced with no substantive change from Crisis Group Briefing, Nepal: Peace
Postponed,op. cit, p. 9. Its words similarly paraphrased the
same substance from Crisis Group Briefing, Nepal's Fragile
Peace Process, op. cit, p. 9. This is not out of laziness: there
is simply nothing new to report.
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Page 20
The Maoists' PLA is indeed, as its critics rightly aver,
a private, politicised force under the control of a revolutionary party. This is not a sustainable situation and
can only be a bone of contention with other parties and
a source of apprehension for those who have been on
the receiving end of its military force. It is, however,
subject to a chain of command and political discipline
that is far more transparent and effective than that of
the NA, which remains, in contrast, a largely autonomous force, and one keen to flex its political muscles.
The only contact between the army and the government has been irregular private meetings between
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Rookmanagad Katwal
and the prime minister. These are not subject to any
civil service or cabinet scrutiny and have sometimes
taken place one on one, without minutes. Their pattern is, however, clear enough: the head of the government and head of the army have each sought to
use, control, cajole and bully the other in the service
oftheir own partisan interests. In general, COAS Katwal has had the upper hand - the NA is, as the prime
minister knows all too well, by far the most powerful
state institution - but he has also been outmanoeuvred, in particular over the ending ofthe monarchy.
The saddest irony of the peace process is that while
the army was under palace control, there were at least
checks and balances on its behaviour: for all his
nominal superiority, the COAS could not do anything
without clearance from the king's Principal Military
Secretary. The transfer of supreme command to the
NC president meant even this rudimentary level of
control was dispensed with. The NA has never been
subject to less political control in its entire history,
whether under Ranas or Shahs.
The mainstream parties were not willing to discuss the
future ofthe security sector for two reasons: they did
not dare trespass on the army's territory (and received
sufficient warning that trespassers would, probably
metaphorically, be shot);115 and they felt they had a
viable plan - let the Maoists lose the election, and the
issue would somehow go away without the need for a
policy. Either the Maoists would be so weakened by
their humiliating defeat that they would concede to
whatever the "legitimate" forces dictated, or the PLA
would simply drift out of the cantonments in frustration and leave the Maoist emperor to rue his nakedness. In any case, the Maoist defeat would probably
lead to the retention of the monarchy, so the king
See, for example, the mysterious list of "suggestions"
anonymously sent to the parties but appearing to reflect the
NA's political priorities. "Yi 'sujhav' kaska holan?", Budha-
bar, 18 June 2006.
would still look after the army and save his subjects
from the trouble. This was never the most well considered of policies, and it left no party in any position
to cope with the consequences of a Maoist election
The powerful position of the Madhesi parties, which
secured a commitment in the February 2008 eight-
point agreement to the group induction of Madhesis
into the NA, makes the issue all the more complicated. Most Madhesi leaders, including the MJF's
Upendra Yadav, are firmly opposed to integrating
former PLA fighters into the NA and are determined
to see their earlier deals implemented before allowing
progress on other fronts. The NA, which indicated its
refusal to accept the idea of group recruitment in the
wake of the eight-point agreement, will also be fighting on two fronts.
2.    Pot and kettle?
On this most sensitive of topics, it is tempting to pretend that saying "on the one hand, the NA ... on the
other hand, the PLA ..." constitutes balanced reporting. But the reality itself is not so balanced. The Maoist position on army integration has been consistent,
compromising and repeatedly shared with the public.116 It is not entirely palatable to all, and there is no
reason that other parties should accept it wholesale.117
It is an opening negotiating stance, which will need to
Their stance has been frequently reported by the mainstream media, for example: "On integration ofthe PLA into
the Nepal Army, [Prachanda] said it would be done as per
the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and not all personnel
would be taken into the army. 'Only those professionally fit
and physically fit will join the army, while others can be
mixed into police or a separate industrial security force can
be created'". "Prachanda Rejects NC, UML Pre-conditions
to Join Govt", The Himalayan Times, 19 May 2008. Maoist
leaders have not always been entirely consistent. For example, PLA Deputy Commander Barshaman Pun "Ananta" has
suggested the PLA could remain as a separate government-
controlled security force rather than be integrated into the
national army. "PLA to be separate security force: Pun", The
Kathmandu Post, 14 June 2008.
117 The aspect of the Maoists' security sector plans that
should probably most alarm their opponents has been subject
to no public discussion whatsoever. This is not the integration of some PLA fighters into a slimmed down national
army (which at the size the Maoists propose would have little hope of taking over the state even if it wanted to) but the
Maoist proposal for compulsory military training for all
adults, with regular refresher training until retirement. That
this has been subject to no public debate probably reflects
the fact that no commentators have bothered reading the
many Maoist writings on the topic or feel the need to engage
with them.
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Page 21
be revised during talks, as the CPN(M) is well aware.
In the meantime, the CPN(M) has restated its complaint that the state is responsible for not embracing
the PLA and bringing it under its control, despite
Maoist offers to put it under government command
from the outset ofthe peace process.118 Commanders
emphasise that the PLA could be brought under state
control before integration.119
But on the other side - what used to be the king's
side, then was called the "state's" side (until the Maoists emerged to lead the state), then could have been
the mainstream parties' side (if they had accepted
their responsibility) and is now the NA's privately-
owned side - there is no negotiating position. The NA
cannot prepare for meaningful talks, because its leadership cannot accept the need for change, however incremental and democratic. In this it has been shielded
by powerful allies, in particular India.120
The NA, which speaks when and how it chooses, offered no comment on the elections. The only public
welcoming ofthe peaceful step forward came from its
representative on the UNMIN-supported Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC), Major General Shivaram Pradhan.121 The COAS, not normally
shy, devoted his attentions to issuing internal army circulars that attempted to rewrite the constitutional
process and undermine the sovereignty ofthe CA.122
He used the occasion of a celebration of 50 years'
contribution to peacekeeping operations to reiterate
the NA's red line: no integration of a single PLA
member.123 (This is always phrased as "entry for any
qualified individual who meets the standard criteria",
but one of those basic criteria is that no one with affiliation to a political party may be recruited, thereby
barring any Maoist combatant.) Even a highly sympathetic commentator described these remarks as "sheer
chutzpah".124 More fanatical supporters see the protection of NA autonomy as the primary goal of the
nation, rather than that "in Nepal's case, only the survival of a democracy can now guarantee the independence ofthe military".125 In the meantime, international
backers are held hostage to the threat that any measure of reform would weaken NA morale and lead to a
Maoist takeover - a ludicrous bluff, but one that Delhi
and Washington have so far been too timid to call.
3.    A way out?
There is hope for progress. Despite their apparent hostility, the CPN(M) and the NA have held talks at different levels. This raises the prospect of agreement. It
should also alarm anyone who believes in democratic
control ofthe peace process and ofthe nation's secu-
"Maovadi senako yogyatabare prashna uthainu anyaypurna",
Gorkhapatra, 17 June 2008.
119"Sabai sashastra shaktilai rajyako mathat rakhine", Gorkhapatra, 18 June 2008.
120India's position is conditioned not by ill-will but by its
own history. All Indian politicians, even those sympathetic
to the Maoists, find it hard to stomach the idea of integrating
PLA forces into the NA because India's own army never accepted "freedom fighters" into its ranks after independence.
This has a particular resonance for Indian leftists. The "freedom fighters" rejected by the Indian Army were primarily
members of Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army,
which had accepted German and Japanese backing during
the Second World War - a move bitterly opposed by Indian
communists, who preferred to suspend their nationalist
movement and reject Gandhi's Quit India movement in order
to support the UK in the greater straggle against fascism.
121 "Nepal Army Tuesday pledged to move ahead under the
direction of the government elected through the people's
mandate. The army's commitment comes at a time when the
Maoists are certain to lead the future government. In a meeting held today of the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC) comprising the Maoists, Nepal Army and
United Nations, Nepal Army Brigadier General Shiva Ram
Pradhan said that the Nepal Army will completely obey the
directions of the next government". "Nepal Army to obey
future govt",, 15 April 2008.
COAS's circular, as quoted in Jana Aastha ("Senadvara
dindinai anautho sarkular", 11 June 2008): "He who benefits
personally from a move to remove someone today will just
as likely be himself removed in the next move" - obviously
referring to Gyanendra but perhaps a hint at fears for his own
123The ceremony was marred by the UN's principled decision not to attend, given that the venue (the NA's dedicated
UN peacekeeping training centre in Panchkhal) was where
NA officers tortured, killed and buried the fifteen-year-old
Maina Sunuwar in February 2004. The Supreme Court ordered a police investigation in September 2007, and on 31
January 2008 a charge sheet naming four accused was submitted to the Kabhre district court, which summoned the accused to appear before it. On the fourth anniversary of the
murder, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise
Arbour called on the NA to cooperate fully with the slow-
moving investigation. Press release, Office of the High
Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) Nepal, Kathmandu, 17 February 2008. See also press statement, Advocacy Forum-Nepal, 17 February 2008.
124He was referring to Katwal's proclamation that "The Nepal Army will remain a key promoter and defender of democracy and could be the only centripetal force for Nepal. This
is why we strongly believe that in the name of democratisation, the Army's purity, sanctity and integrity should never
be compromised". M.R. Josse, "PLA integration: tough nut
to crack", People's Review, 19 June 2008.
125 Siddhartha Thapa, "To realise the peaceful middle way",
Newsfront, 16 June 2008.
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rity forces. Backroom deals between two armed forces
whose commitment to democracy remains in doubt
would be the saddest indictment of the mainstream
parties' abdication of responsibility during the peace
The first steps for a viable and accountable process
are still eminently possible and painless. They involve
starting structured discussions between the parties on
the shape of future arrangements, ensuring the currently well observed ceasefire remains in place and
taking small, practical steps to build the infrastructure
for civilian control of any future security sector -
starting with staffing and resourcing a defence ministry and establishing a National Security Council with
representation of all major parties and secretariat support that builds NA confidence and draws on its experience in making plans. None of this is rocket science, and all of it is manageable.
Where the NA and PLA have been forced to work together (on the JMCC), they have cooperated amicably
and effectively.126 In private, senior NA officers are
mostly sanguine about the prospect of incorporating
Maoist fighters in the lowest ranks but do not believe
their commanders deserve to be parachuted into senior positions.127 (Even the NA's foreign supporters
would probably see no difficulty in a few thousand
PLA members being absorbed one by one into the
NA.128) Junior to mid-ranking officers interviewed by
Crisis Group were universally happy that the army
did not have to intervene in the elections and were
almost all concerned that their chief was playing politics with their institution.129 The fact that the CPN(M)
received almost 200 votes from soldiers in the NA
headquarters itself suggests that former battlefield opponents are not necessarily enemies for life.130
Both forces have been insulated from more public
criticism partly out of fear and partly because soldiering has long been viewed as an honourable profession.
Given the poor prospects for an effective Truth and
Reconciliation Commission or individual war crimes
prosecutions, a vetting mechanism built into any integration process could improve both the PLA's and the
NA's public reputation.131 Most Nepalis would like to
have an army that works for their security and that
they can respect wholeheartedly. The joined forces -
suitably downsized, more representative of all communities and subject to democratic control - could be
a great national asset. For now, they are a heavy drain
on short resources and a constant threat to peace.
The success of the elections should not distract from
the many remaining challenges. There has been little
progress on numerous critical elements of the peace
process. Apart from the security sector, the majority
of issues the December 2007 23-point agreement
promised to address remain unresolved. There is no
mechanism to deal with contentious land issues (both
the return of land seized during the conflict and the
wider question of equitable land reform); nor has
there been any consensus on reviving local government, without which basic services cannot be delivered.132 While the Maoists have dragged their feet on
dismantling parallel structures (such as courts and policing), little effort has gone into making sure the state
The JMCC has met 75 times and has functioned excellently. Crisis Group interviews, NA and PLA representatives
on JMCC, 18 June 2008. It remains "the best example of a
functional body established by the peace process", Crisis
Group Briefing, Nepal: Peace Postponed, op. cit, p. 9.
127 Crisis Group interviews, various locations, January-April
2008. Two brigadier-generals separately and without prompting
used almost the same words when pointing out that they had
to serve, and complete higher qualifications, for three decades
to reach their current rank. Both - one unabashedly royalist,
one entirely comfortable with republicanism - saw this as the
main problem if they were expected to let "an Ananta or a
Pasang" [young but experienced PLA deputy commanders]
be admitted to the national army at a similar level. In fact, the
CPN(M) has held senior officers Baldev and Pasang in reserve, prompting widespread assumptions they are being lined
up to enter the upper ranks of any restructured national army.
128 Crisis Group interview, senior Indian diplomat, March 2008.
129 Crisis interviews, various locations, April-May 2008.
The breakdown of (PR) votes from an army polling station
should not have been made public. The figures emerged because the NA's Bhadrakali HQ was included in the small
electronic voting pilot project, and the results of its polling
emerged separately, before any other PR ballots had been
131 Crisis Group interview, human rights lawyer, Kathmandu,
18 June 2008.
132 "Minister for Local Development Dev Gurung has
stressed constituting a local body mechanism with the representation of every political party by taking the verdict of the
people as per the results of the Constituent Assembly election as the basis... he said the local bodies should be empowered and [vested] with more authority. He underlined the
need for giving the responsibility of selection, formulation
and implementation of development projects ... to the local
bodies and provisions should be made in which the government will provide a lump sum grant to the local bodies".
"Gurung calls for local body mechanism", The Rising Nepal,
4 June 2008.
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bodies meant to perform those functions can regain
public trust.133 There is considerable demand for YCL
services even from the Kathmandu middle classes,
which have long since lost faith in the police and find
its law enforcement prompt and efficient, however
rough and illegitimate.134
While the ceasefire has held, the state of public security and rule of law is tenuous. Impunity reigns for all
powerful actors.135 There have been no prosecutions
for perpetrators ofthe worst crimes carried out during
the conflict, and investigations on some egregious
violations have been stalled.136 The whereabouts of
hundreds of people disappeared during the conflict,
most of them allegedly at the hands of the state security forces, remains undisclosed, despite a clear commitment in the November 2006 CPA.137 While many
of the thousands injured in the April 2006 people's
movement still await treatment and compensation, the
home ministry, without explanation, reinstated the
two senior police officers who had been identified by
Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula has at least warned
the Nepal Police that they will have to change in line with
new developments, not least by preparing for the structural
reforms that will come as and when federalism is implemented, "Home Minister directs Nepal Police to accept
change",, 7 June 2008.
134 Crisis Group interviews, passim. To cite only one illustration, during the fuel shortages that have plagued Kathmandu
for months, the YCL took charge of organising queues at
petrol pumps and preventing the queue-jumping that had enraged those who waited patiently for hours while others
pulled strings. Such activities have given the organisation a
positive spin, even among people who reject much of its behaviour.
135 "Both the government and the Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist) (CPN (M)) largely failed to implement human
rights commitments in the Comprehensive Peace Accord
(CPA), signed in November 2006. Elections were postponed
twice. Measures to address impunity for past violations and
abuses were grossly inadequate. Vulnerable groups, including women and minorities, remained at risk of human rights
abuses". "Annual Report 2008", Nepal section, Amnesty International, at
136 For example, there has been no progress in investigating
either the illegal detention, torture and disappearances from
the army's Maharajgunj barracks in 2003-2004, or the Maoist bombing of a civilian bus at Madi, Chitwan on 6 June
2005, killing 38. For an overview of many abuses still awaiting investigation see "Human Rights In Nepal One Year After The Comprehensive Peace Agreement", OHCHR-Nepal,
Kathmandu, December 2007.
137 "Both sides agree to make public within 60 days of the
signing of the agreement the correct and full names and addresses of the people who 'disappeared' or were killed during the conflict and convey such details to the family members". CPA, Art. 5.2.3, 21 November 2006.
the Rayamajhi Commission as responsible for the use
of excessive force against demonstrators.138 Although
armed militants carried out fewer attacks than they
had threatened, many parts ofthe Tarai are experiencing lawlessness, with locals at the prey of organised
criminals and shadowy terrorist splinter groups.139
The inclusiveness promised by the diverse new CA
will only be delivered in practice if there is greater
attention to implementing rhetorical commitments to
ending former exclusive practices. Nepal's hard-won
status near the top ofthe league for women's representation in an elected national assembly will be enhanced if women members of the CA are able to exercise their duties fully - not only in the debating
chamber but also as active members of all decisionmaking bodies, including the informal party negotiating teams that often take crucial decisions. No women
have so far been involved in any ofthe main talks, not
even on the CPN(M) side, which has the highest proportion of women CA members.
There is still a good opportunity for Nepal to set a
global example by heeding the recommendations of
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the role of
women in peace processes.140 At the same time, the
main parties will lose credibility with ethnic and regional activists if they do not work hard to implement
fully the agreements with the United Democratic Madhesi Front and the Federal Republican National Front
that were reached in February and March 2008.141
As for the constitutional process that the election was
meant to herald, the signs remain unpromising. While
the Maoists' manifesto did at least include detailed
constitutional proposals, no party has paid much at-
The NHRC complained and asked the government to explain. The two officers are Assistant Inspector Generals
Krishna Basnet and Rup Sagar Moktan. "NHRC questions
AIGs' reinstatement",, 26 May 2008. Many
saw their singling out for criticism as unfair, especially as no
one from the army, which was in overall control of the security forces under the then unified command system, was suspended or otherwise punished. See Crisis Group Asia Report
N°126, Nepal's Peace Agreement: Making it Work, 15 December 2006, p. 28.
139For example, a 14 June 2008 Rautahat bombing, killing
two and injuring many more, was claimed by the "Tarai
Army", a group whose structure and political agenda, if any,
is not clear.
140The Security Council's Resolution on Women, Peace and
Security was unanimously adopted in October 2000. It demands that women be included in peace negotiations, post-
conflict governance, humanitarian response and post-conflict
141 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Election and Beyond,
op. cit, pp. 2-3.
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Page 24
tention to making the CA a functional body. Former
Prime Minister Koirala made it clear he saw the constitution-writing business as personal, announcing "I
have one more responsibility: to draft a new constitution. I will need support and cooperation from all sectors ... while drafting the constitution".142 He also
launched his own search for favoured candidates to
head a "constitution drafting committee" that featured
nowhere in any agreements and implied no respect for
the CA's mandate.143 Where the Maoists have well developed - and controversial - plans for the shape of a
federal state, the NC and UML have signed up to the
concept without any effort to develop alternative proposals.144
Steps towards making the CA more inclusive have
been bold and superficially successful, but using the
constitutional process to institutionalise rights and
opportunities for marginalised communities will be
delicate and difficult.145 In all these areas, a commitment to ongoing public consultation and participation
would help to generate constructive debate and head
off the sense of exclusion that has so often led to violent protest. But there are, as yet, no plans to trouble
the public with political questions now that it has
done its duty by voting on 10 April. These are areas
in which donors could assist, although efforts will
only be successful if they respect and draw on the
large pool of talented Nepali constitutional experts, as
well as individual CA members and party leaders.
The challenges Nepal faces in constitutional design
may be analogous to those of other countries, but the
peace process has demonstrated that transplanted solutions and international expertise, however well in-
tentioned, are unlikely to be helpful. Technical assistance to drafting committees and specialised subcommittees (should the CA choose to establish such
bodies, something it has not yet debated or decided)
would probably offer the best entry point. Financial
assistance could support broader exercises in public
consultation - but again, only if the CA opts to engage in such efforts.
"New Constitution will be drafted under my leadership,
says PM Koirala",, 17 May 2008.
143 cpjyj K0jraia i00king for individual to lead statute drafting
committee",, 3 June 2008. The names he had
proposed (former UML general secretary Madhav Kumar
Nepal, former chief justice Biswanath Upadhyaya, former
law minister Nilamber Acharya and former NC speaker Daman Nath Dhungana) were all intimately linked to the failed
1990 constitution, most of them as members ofthe drafting
committee. Not entirely coincidentally, they are all of the
same gender and caste as Koirala himself.
144 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Election and Beyond, op.
cit, p. 3. At the party's manifesto launch (Lalitpur, 13 March
2008), NC campaign coordinator Prakash Sharan Mahat spoke
of "people's hearings" to form "scientific" plans for federalism (an idea that features in the manifesto), but there are no
signs these hold any interest for the NC's top leadership.
145 On the many challenges in securing Dalit rights, see "Recasting Justice: Securing Dalit Rights in Nepal's New Constitution", Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New
York University School of Law, 2008, at
projects/docs/recastingjustice.pdf. On the politics and complex practicalities of implementing affirmative action reservations, see Townsend Middleton and Sara Shneiderman,
"Reservations, Federalism and the Politics of Recognition in
Nepal", Economic & Political Weekly, 10 May 2008.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 25
The aftermath of the election has been marred by the
behaviour of powerful losers. In a reversal ofthe normal grieving process, the NC and UML's initial acceptance has given way to stronger denial. Both they
and the leaders of other parties have been happy to see
power quickly returned to its usual locus - in the hands
of a few men who will take all major decisions based
on private horse-trading, without consulting their own
parties, let alone the elected CA or the people at large.
For some, the rapid return to politics as usual may be
reassuring. Back-room haggling is, after all, better than
armed warfare. For a prime minister and party still in
office nearly three months after a crushing election
defeat, life must seem surprisingly sweet. But parties
who pride themselves on blocking the Maoists' ascendancy should be aware that they are also dishonouring a clear popular mandate. For the CPN(M), the
jury is still out on whether its peaceful revolution
strategy will mark an ideological triumph, and it have
much to do to win trust through reformed behaviour.
But a peaceful revolution is precisely what millions of
Nepalis have been demanding for years, if not decades. As the CA elections showed, they are perfectly
capable of using non-violent protest and the ballot
box to punish those who betray their aspirations.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 3 July 2008
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 26
The boundaries and names shown and the designations
used on this map do not imply official endorsement or
acceptance by the United Nations.
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Map No. 4304    UNITED NATIONS
Januafy 2007 [Colour)
Departmeni ol Peacekeeping Operations
Cartographic Section
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 27
BIP Bharatiya lanata Party
CA Constituent Assembly
COAS Chief of Army Staff
CPA Comprehensive Peace Agreement
CPI(Maoist) Communist Party of India (Maoist)
CPI(Marxist) Communist Party of India (Marxist)
CPN(M) Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
CPN(ML) Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist)
CPN(United) Communist Party of Nepal (United)
DEO District Election Officer
EC Election Commission
FPTP First Past the Post
IMCC loint Monitoring Coordination Committee
MIF Madhesi lanadhikar Forum (sometimes referred to in other sources as the Madhesi People's
Rights Forum, MPRF)
NA Nepal Army
NC Nepali Congress
NC(D) Nepali Congress (Democratic)
NEFESf Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities
NHRC National Human Rights Commission
NSP(A) Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi)
NWPP Nepal Workers and Peasants' Party
OHCHR Office ofthe United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
PLA People's Liberation Army (Maoist)
PR Proportional Representation
RJP Rashtriya Janashakti Party
RPP Rashtriya Prajatantra Party
RPP(N) Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal)
TMDP Tarai Madhes Democratic Party
UDMF United Democratic Madhesi Front
ULF United Left Front
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008 Page 28
UML Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
UNMIN United Nations Mission in Nepal
UPA United Progressive Alliance
YCL Young Communist League
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008 Page 29
From the Government of Nepal
Cabinet of Ministers
Proposal on the implementation of a republic, tabled at the first meeting of
the Constituent Assembly
Respecting the historic revolution and struggles ofthe Nepali people, and honouring the peoples' mandate as
expressed by the Jana Andolan [of 2006], in order to institutionalise the achievements ofthe agreement reached between the political parties, and by embracing the responsibilities entrusted by history in accordance with Article
159 (2) ofthe interim constitution of Nepal 2063 [2007], the Cabinet of Ministers ofthe Government of Nepal
hereby presents the following proposal for the implementation of a republic, during this first meeting of the Constituent Assembly:
1) This first meeting ofthe Constituent Assembly declares that an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular
and inclusive Nepal has been formally transformed into a federal democratic republic from this day onwards, by vesting sovereignty and inherent powers in the Nepali people.
2) Since a formal democratic republic has been implemented in the country, all constitutional provisions, and
legal and administrative arrangements that stand in contradiction to a democratic republic shall be considered null and void, with effect from this day. Those rights, privileges, entitlements and titles based on the
then-prevalent laws, customs, and social and cultural norms enjoyed by the then-king and his family prior
to the ratification of this declaration shall automatically come to an end.
3) At a time when Nepal has been formally declared a federal democratic republic, this amendment bill is being presented in order to make necessary amendments in the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2063 [2007], in
order to constitutionally institutionalise urgent provisions, including those with regards to the [position of
the] president. An additional amendment bill will be presented regarding the election ofthe president and
other necessary issues.
4) On this historic occasion, a new era has begun with Nepal's formal [declaration of] becoming a federal
democratic republic. This meeting expresses its deepest condolences to the martyrs, both known and unknown. We cordially congratulate the entire Nepali populace on this occasion. This meeting appeals to all
Nepalis, living in and outside the country, to celebrate Republic Day every year from now onwards on 28
May (Jeth 15) in a grand manner and in a festive atmosphere.
5) Now that the democratic republic has been established, the Government of Nepal will make necessary provisions to convert the Narayanhiti Palace premises into a historical museum, and to utilise it for the welfare
ofthe nation.
Signed: Krishna Prasad Sitaula, 28 May 2008 (2065 Jeth 15)
Unofficial translation provided by UNMESf.
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 30
The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, with
some 135 staff members on five continents, working
through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to
prevent and resolve deadly conflict.
Crisis Group's approach is grounded in field research.
Teams of political analysts are located within or close by
countries at risk of outbreak, escalation or recurrence of
violent conflict. Based on information and assessments
from the field, it produces analytical reports containing
practical recommendations targeted at key international
decision-takers. Crisis Group also publishes CrisisWatch,
a twelve-page monthly bulletin, providing a succinct regular update on the state of play in all the most significant
situations of conflict or potential conflict around the world.
Crisis Group's reports and briefing papers are distributed
widely by email and printed copy to officials in foreign ministries and international organisations and made available
simultaneously on the website, Crisis
Group works closely with governments and those who influence them, including the media, to highlight its crisis
analyses and to generate support for its policy prescriptions.
The Crisis Group Board - which includes prominent
figures from the fields of politics, diplomacy, business
and the media - is directly involved in helping to bring
the reports and recommendations to the attention of
senior policy-makers around the world. Crisis Group is
co-chaired by the former European Commissioner for
External Relations Christopher Patten and former U.S.
Ambassador Thomas Pickering. Its President and Chief
Executive since January 2000 has been former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.
Crisis Group's international headquarters are in Brussels,
with advocacy offices in Washington DC (where it is based
as a legal entity), New York, London and Moscow. The
organisation currently operates eleven regional offices
(in Bishkek, Bogota, Cairo, Dakar, Islamabad, Istanbul,
Jakarta, Nairobi, Pristina, Seoul and Tbilisi) and has local
field representation in sixteen additional locations (Abuja,
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Port-au-Prince, Pretoria and Tehran). Crisis Group currently covers some 60 areas of actual or potential conflict
across four continents. In Africa, this includes Burundi,
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Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan,
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Indonesia, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar/
Burma, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Phillipines, Sri Lanka,
Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan and
Uzbekistan; in Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and
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ofthe Andean region and Haiti.
Crisis Group raises funds from governments, charitable
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provide funding: Australian Agency for International Development, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and
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Canada, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, German Federal Foreign
Office, Irish Aid, Principality of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand Agency
for International Development, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Kingdom Department for International Development, United
Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council, U.S.
Agency for International Development.
Foundation and private sector donors include Carnegie
Corporation of New York, Fundacion DARA Internacio-
nal, Iara Lee and George Gund III Foundation, William
& Flora Hewlett Foundation, Hunt Alternatives Fund,
Kimsey Foundation, Korea Foundation, John D. &
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Mott Foundation, Open Society Institute, Pierre and
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Ploughshares Fund, Provictimis Foundation, Radcliffe
Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust and VIVA Trust.
July 2008
Further information about Crisis Group can be obtained from our website:
The Curse of Cotton: Central Asia's Destructive Monoculture,
Asia Report N°93, 28 February 2005 (also available in Russian)
Kyrgyzstan: After the Revolution, Asia Report N°97, 4 May
2005 (also available in Russian)
Uzbekistan: The Andijon Uprising, Asia Briefing N°38, 25
May 2005 (also available in Russian)
Kyrgyzstan: A Faltering State, Asia Report N°109, 16 December 2005 (also available in Russian)
Uzbekistan: In for the Long Haul, Asia Briefing N°45, 16
February 2006 (also available in Russian)
Central Asia: What Role for the European Union?, Asia Report N°l 13, 10 April 2006
Kyrgyzstan's Prison System Nightmare, Asia Report N°118,
16 August 2006 (also available in Russian)
Uzbekistan: Europe's Sanctions Matter, Asia Briefing N°54,
6 November 2006
Kyrgyzstan on the Edge, Asia Briefing N°55, 9 November
2006 (also available in Russian)
Turkmenistan after Niyazov, Asia Briefing N°60, 12 February
Central Asia's Energy Risks, Asia Report N°133, 24 May
2007 (also available in Russian)
Uzbekistan: Stagnation and Uncertainty, Asia Briefing N°67,
22 August 2007
Political Murder in Central Asia: No Time to End Uzbekistan's Isolation, Asia Briefing N°76, 13 February 2008
Kyrgyzstan: The Challenge of Judicial Reform, Asia Report
N°150, 10 April 2008
North Korea: Can the Iron Fist Accept the Invisible Hand?,
Asia Report N°96, 25 April 2005 (also available in Korean
and Russian)
Japan and North Korea: Bones of Contention, Asia Report
N°100, 27 June 2005 (also available in Korean)
China and Taiwan: Uneasy Detente, Asia Briefing N°42, 21
September 2005
North East Asia's Undercurrents of Conflict, Asia Report
N°108, 15 December 2005 (also available in Korean and Russian)
China and North Korea: Comrades Forever?, Asia Report
N°112, 1 February 2006 (also available in Korean)
After North Korea's Missile Launch: Are the Nuclear Talks
Dead?, Asia Briefing N°52, 9 August 2006 (also available in
Korean and Russian)
Perilous Journeys: The Plight of North Koreans in China
and Beyond, Asia Report N°122, 26 October 2006 (also available in Korean and Russian)
North Korea's Nuclear Test: The Fallout, Asia Briefing N°56,
13 November 2006 (also available in Korean and Russian)
After the North Korean Nuclear Breakthrough: Compliance
or Confrontation?, Asia Briefing N°62, 30 April 2007 (also
available in Korean and Russian)
North Korea-Russia Relations: A Strained Friendship, Asia
Briefing N°71, 4 December 2007 (also available in Russian)
South Korea's Election: What to Expect from President Lee,
Asia Briefing N°73, 21 December 2007
China's Thirst for Oil, Asia Report N°153, 9 June 2008
South Korea's Elections: A Shift to the Right, Asia Briefing
N°77, 30 June 2008
Nepal's Royal Coup: Making a Bad Situation Worse, Asia
Report N°91, 9 February 2005
Afghanistan: Getting Disarmament Back on Track, Asia Briefing
N°35,23 February 2005
Nepal: Responding to the Royal Coup, Asia Briefing N°35,
24 February 2005
Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis, Asia Report N°94,
24 March 2005
The State of Sectarianism in Pakistan, Asia Report N°95, 18
April 2005
Political Parties in Afghanistan, Asia Briefing N°3 9, 2 June 2005
Towards a Lasting Peace in Nepal: The Constitutional Issues,
Asia Report N°99, 15 June 2005
Afghanistan Elections: Endgame or New Beginning?, Asia
Report N° 101, 21 July 2005
Nepal Beyond Royal Rule, Asia Briefing N°41,15 September 2005
Authoritarianism and Political Party Reform in Pakistan,
Asia Report N°102, 28 September 2005
Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy, Asia
Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 (also available in Nepali)
Pakistan's Local Polls: Shoring Up Military Rule, Asia Briefing
N°43, 22 November 2005
Nepal's New Alliance: The Mainstream Parties and the Maoists,
Asia Report N° 106, 28 November 2005
Rebuilding the Afghan State: The European Union's Role,
Asia Report N°107, 30 November 2005
Nepal: Electing Chaos, Asia Report N° 111, 31 January 2006
Pakistan: Political Impact of the Earthquake, Asia Briefing
N°46, 15 March 2006
Nepal's Crisis: Mobilising Intemational Influence, Asia Briefing
N°49,19 April 2006
Nepal: From People Power to Peace?, Asia Report N° 115, 10
May 2006 (also available in Nepali)
Afghanistan's New Legislature: Making Democracy Work, Asia
Report N°l 16, 15 May 2006
India, Pakistan and Kashmir: Stabilising a Cold Peace, Asia
Briefing N°51, 15 June 2006
Pakistan: the Worsening Conflict in Balochistan, Asia Report
N°119, 14 September 2006
Bangladesh Today, Asia Report N° 121, 23 October 2006
Countering Afghanistan's Insurgency: No Quick Fixes, Asia
Report N°123, 2 November 2006
Sri Lanka: The Failure of the Peace Process, Asia Report
N°124, 28 November 2006
Pakistan's Tribal Areas: Appeasing the Militants, Asia Report
N°125, 11 December 2006
Nepal's Peace Agreement: Making it Work, Asia Report N°126,
15 December 2006
Afghanistan's Endangered Compact, Asia Briefing N°59, 29
January 2007
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 32
Nepal's Constitutional Process, Asia Report N°128, 26 February
2007 (also available in Nepali)
Pakistan: Karachi's Madrasas and Violent Extremism, Asia
Report N°130, 29 March 2007
Discord in Pakistan's Northern Areas, Asia Report N°131, 2
April 2007
Nepal's Maoists: Purists or Pragmatists?, Asia Report N°132,
18 May 2007 (also available in Nepali)
Sri Lanka's Muslims: Caught in the Crossfire, Asia Report
N°134, 29 May 2007
Sri Lanka's Human Rights Crisis, Asia Report N°135, 14
June 2007
Nepal's Troubled Tarai Region, Asia Report N° 136, 9 July 2007
(also available in Nepali)
Elections, Democracy and Stability in Pakistan, Asia Report
N°137, 31 July 2007
Reforming Afghanistan's Police, Asia Report N°138, 30 August 2007
Nepal's Fragile Peace Process, Asia Briefing N°68, 28 September
2007 (also available in Nepali)
Pakistan: The Forgotten Conflict in Balochistan, Asia Briefing
N°69, 22 October 2007
Sri Lanka: Sinhala Nationalism and the Elusive Southern
Consensus, Asia Report N°141, 7 November 2007
Winding Back Martial Law in Pakistan, Asia Briefing N°70,
12 November 2007
Nepal: Peace Postponed, Asia Briefing N°72, 18 December 2007
(also available in Nepali)
After Bhutto's Murder: A Way Forward for Pakistan, Asia
Briefing N°74, 2 January 2008
Afghanistan: The Need for International Resolve, Asia Report
N°145, 6 February 2008
Sri Lanka's Return to War: Limiting the Damage, Asia Report
N°146, 20 February 2008
Nepal's Election and Beyond, Asia Report N° 149, 2 April 2008
(also available in Nepali)
Restoring Democracy in Bangladesh, Asia Report N°151, 28
April 2008
Recycling Militants in Indonesia: Darul Islam and the Australian
Embassy Bombing, Asia Report N°92, 22 February 2005 (also
available in Indonesian)
Decentralisation and Conflict in Indonesia: The Mamasa
Case, Asia Briefing N°37, 3 May 2005
Southern Thailand: Insurgency, Not Jihad, Asia Report N°98,
18 May 2005 (also available in Thai)
Aceh: A New Chance for Peace, Asia Briefing N°40,15 August 2005
Weakening Indonesia's Mujahidin Networks: Lessons from
Maluku and Poso, Asia Report N° 103, 13 October 2005 (also
available in Indonesian)
Thailand's Emergency Decree: No Solution, Asia Report N°105,
18 November 2005 (also available in Thai)
Aceh: So Far, So Good, Asia Briefing N°44, 13 December 2005
(also available in Indonesian)
Philippines Terrorism: The Role of Militant Islamic Converts,
Asia Report N°l 10, 19 December 2005
Papua: The Dangers of Shutting Down Dialogue, Asia Briefing
N°47, 23 March 2006 (also available in Indonesian)
Aceh: Now for the Hard Part, Asia Briefing N°48,29 March 2006
Managing Tensions on the Timor-Leste/Indonesia Border,
Asia Briefing N°50, 4 May 2006
Terrorism in Indonesia: Noordin 's Networks, Asia Report N° 114,
5 May 2006 (also available in Indonesian)
Islamic Law and Criminal Justice in Aceh, Asia Report N°l 17,
31 July 2006 (also available in Indonesian)
Papua: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, Asia Briefing
N°53, 5 September 2006
Resolving Timor-Leste's Crisis, Asia Report N° 120, 10 October
2006 (also available in Indonesian)
Aceh's Local Elections: The Role ofthe Free Aceh Movement
(GAM), Asia Briefing N°57, 29 November 2006
Myanmar: New Threats to Humanitarian Aid, Asia Briefing
N°58, 8 December 2006
Jihadism in Indonesia: Poso on the Edge, Asia Report N°127,
24 January 2007
Southern Thailand: The Impact of the Coup, Asia Report
N°129, 15 March 2007 (also available in Thai)
Indonesia: How GAM Won inAceh , Asia Briefing N°61, 22
March 2007
Indonesia: Jemaah Islamiyah's Current Status, Asia Briefing
N°63, 3 May 2007
Indonesia: Decentralisation and Local Power Struggles in
Maluku, Asia Briefing N°64, 22 May 2007
Timor-Leste's Parliamentary Elections, Asia Briefing N°65,
12 June 2007
Indonesian Papua: A Local Perspective on the Conflict, Asia
Briefing N°66, 19 July 2007 (also available in Indonesian)
Aceh: Post-Conflict Complications, Asia Report N°139, 4
October 2007 (also available in Indonesian)
Southern Thailand: The Problem with Paramilitaries, Asia
Report N° 140, 23 October 2007 (also available in Thai)
"Deradicalisation" and Indonesian Prisons, Asia Report N°142,
19 November 2007
Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform, Asia Report N°143, 17
January 2008 (also available in Tetum)
Indonesia: Tackling Radicalism in Poso, Asia Briefing N°75,
22 January 2008
Burma/Myanmar: After the Crackdown, Asia Report N°144,
31 January 2008
Indonesia: Jemaah Islamiyah's Publishing Industry, Asia
Report N°147, 28 February 2008
Timor-Leste's Displacement Crisis, Asia Report N°148, 31
March 2008
The Philippines: Counter-insurgency vs. Counter-terrorism in
Mindanao, Asia Report N°152, 14 May 2008
Indonesia: Communal Tensions in Papua, Asia Report N°154,
16 June 2008
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 33
Christopher Patten
Former European Commissioner for External Relations, Governor of Hong Kong
and UK Cabinet Minister; Chancellor of
Oxford University
Thomas Pickering
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and
President & CEO
Gareth Evans
Former Foreign Minister of Australia
Executive Committee
Morton Abramowitz
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
and Ambassador to Turkey
Emma Bonino*
Former Minister of International Trade
and European Affairs of Italy and European
Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid
Cheryl Carolus
Former South African High Commissioner
to the UK and Secretary General ofthe ANC
Maria Livanos Cattaui
Former Secretary-General, International
Chamber of Commerce
Yoichi Funabashi
Editor-in-Chief & Columnist, The Asahi
Shimbun, Japan
Frank Giustra
Chairman, Endeavour Financial, Canada
Stephen Solarz
Former U.S. Congressman
George Soros
Chairman, Open Society Institute
Par Stenback
Former Foreign Minister of Finland
Adnan Abu-Odeh
Former Political Adviser to King Abdullah
II and to King Hussein and Jordan Permanent Representative to the UN
Kenneth Adelman
Former U.S. Ambassador and Director of
the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Ali Alatas
Former Foreign Minister of Indonesia
HRH Prince Turki al-Faisal
Former Ambassador ofthe Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia to the U.S.; Chairman, King
Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic
Kofi Annan
Former Secretary-General ofthe United
Nations; Nobel Peace Prize (2001)
Louise Arbour
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chief Prosecutor for the
International Criminal Tribunals for the
former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda
Richard Armitage
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
Lord (Paddy) Ashdown
Former High Representative for Bosnia
and Herzegovina and Leader ofthe Liberal
Democrats, UK
Shlomo Ben-Ami
Former Foreign Minister of Israel
Lakhdar Brahimi
Former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General and Algerian Foreign Minister
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Former U.S. National Security Advisor
to the President
Kim Campbell
Former Prime Minister of Canada
Naresh Chandra
Former Indian Cabinet Secretary and
Ambassador of India to the U.S.
Joaquim Alberto Chissano
Former President of Mozambique
Wesley Clark
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Pat Cox
Former President of European Parliament
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Former Foreign Minister of Denmark
Mark Eyskens
Former Prime Minister of Belgium
Joschka Fischer
Former Foreign Minister of Germany
Yegor Gaidar
Former Prime Minister of Russia
Leslie H. Gelb
President Emeritus of Council on Foreign
Relations, U.S.
Carla Hills
Former Secretary of Housing and U.S.
Trade Representative
Lena Hjelm-Wallen
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Sweden
Swanee Hunt
Chair, The Initiative for Inclusive Security;
President, Hunt Alternatives Fund; former
Ambassador U.S. to Austria
Anwar Ibrahim
Former Deputy Prime Minister of
Asma Jahangir
UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of
Religion or Belief; Chairperson, Human
Rights Commission of Pakistan
James V. Kimsey
Founder and Chairman Emeritus of
America Online, Inc. (AOL)
Wim Kok
Former Prime Minister of Netherlands
Aleksander Kwasniewski
Former President of Poland
Ricardo Lagos
Former President of Chile; President,
Club of Madrid
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Novelist and journalist, U.S.
Jessica Tuchman Mathews
President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Moises Nairn
Editor-in-chief Foreign Policy; former
Minister of Trade and Industry of Venezuela
Ayo Obe
Chair of Steering Committee of World
Movement for Democracy, Nigeria
Christine Ockrent
Journalist and author, France
Victor Pinchuk
Founder oflnterpipe Scientific and
Industrial Production Group
Samantha Power
Author and Professor, Kennedy School of
Government, Harvard University
Fidel V. Ramos
Former President of Philippines
Guler Sabanci
Chairperson, Sabanci Holding, Turkey
 Nepal's New Political Landscape
Crisis Group Asia Report N°156, 3 July 2008
Page 34
Ghassan Salame
Former Minister, Lebanon; Professor of
International Relations, Paris
Thorvald Stoltenberg
Former Foreign Minister of Norway
Lawrence Summers
Former President, Harvard University;
Former U.S. Secretary ofthe Treasury
Ernesto Zedillo
Former President of Mexico; Director,
Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
Crisis Group's President's Council is a distinguished group of major individual and corporate donors providing
essential support, time and expertise to Crisis Group in delivering its core mission.
Khalid Alireza
BHP Billiton
Canaccord Adams Limited
Bob Cross
Equinox Partners
Frank Holmes
George Landegger
Iara Lee & George Gund III
Ford Nicholson
Ian Telfer
Guy Ullens de Schooten
Neil Woodyer
Don Xia
Crisis Group's International Advisory Council comprises
their advice and experience to Crisis Group on a regular
significant individual and corporate donors who contribute
Rita E. Hauser
Elliott Kulick
Marc Abramowitz
Hamza al Kholi
Anglo American PLC
APCO Worldwide Inc.
Ed Bachrach
Patrick Benzie
Stanley Bergman &
Edward Bergman
Harry Bookey and
Pamela Bass-Bookey
John Chapman Chester
Richard Cooper
Credit Suisse
Neil & Sandy DeFeo
John Ehara
Frontier Strategy Group
Seth Ginns
Alan Griffiths
Charlotte & Fred
Khaled Juffali
George Kellner
Amed Khan
Shiv Vikram Khemka
Scott Lawlor
Jean Manas
McKinsey & Company
Najib Mikati
Harriet Mouchly-Weiss
Donald Pels
Michael Riordan
StatoilHydro ASA
Tilleke & Gibbins
Yasuyo Yamazaki
Yapi Merkezi
Construction and
Industry Inc.
Shinji Yazaki
Sunny Yoon
Crisis Group's Senior Advisers are former Board Members (not presently holding national government executive office)
who maintain an association with Crisis Group, and whose advice and support are called on from time to time.
Martti Ahtisaari
(Chairman Emeritus)
Diego Arria
Paddy Ashdown
Zainab Bangura
Christoph Bertram
Jorge Castaneda
Alain Destexhe
Marika Fahlen
Stanley Fischer
Malcolm Fraser
Bronislaw Geremek
I.K. Gujral
Max Jakobson
Todung Mulya Lubis
Allan J. MacEachen
Barbara McDougall
Matthew McHugh
George J. Mitchell
(Chairman Emeritus)
Surin Pitsuwan
Cyril Ramaphosa
George Robertson
Michel Rocard
Volker Ruehe
Mohamed Sahnoun
Salim A. Salim
William Taylor
Leo Tindemans
Ed van Thijn
Shirley Williams
Grigory Yavlinski
Uta Zapf


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