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Nepal's Fitful Peace Process International Crisis Group 2011-04-07

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 Update Briefing
Asia Briefing N° 120
Kathmandu/Brussels, 7 April 2011
Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Nepal is entering a new phase in its fitful peace process,
in which its so-called "logical conclusion" is in sight: the
integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants and
the introduction of a new constitution. The Maoists, the
largest party, are back in government in a coalition led by
the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist),
UML party. Negotiations, although fraught, are on with the
second-largest party, the Nepali Congress (NC), to join.
Agreement is being reached on constitutional issues and discussions continue on integration. None of the actors are
ramping up for serious confrontation and few want to be
seen as responsible for the collapse of the constitution-
writing process underway in the Constituent Assembly
(CA). But success depends on parties in opposition keeping
tactical threats to dissolve the CA to a minimum, the
government keeping them engaged, and the parties in government stabilising their own precariously divided houses.
It will also require the Maoists to take major steps to dismantle their army.
The fundamentally political nature ofthe transitional arms
and armies arrangements became clear when the United
Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) departed in January
2011, as did the resilience ofthe peace process and the
Maoists' continued buy-in. That is encouraging, as is the
fresh momentum. But major challenges remain. The CA
may need a short extension when its term expires on 28
May 2011 ifthe parties cannot quickly agree on integration
or federalism. But the Madhesi parties and sections ofthe
NC and UML are willing to argue against extension, largely
as a bargaining posture, and to slow down negotiations to
suggest that the CA is ineffective. All parties in government
are in the throes of factional struggles; internal disagreements
and threatened splits complicate the outlook. In their rush
to get to the finish line, all parties risk doing the bare
minimum to "complete" the process. After 21 months of
fighting over access to power, including sixteen unsuccessful votes to select a prime minister, and limited progress
in the year before that, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) has become a ragged document.
There has been no empirical survey on the state of land-
holdings and no land reform measures implemented yet.
The Disappearance and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions have not yet been formed. Plans for what the
CPA calls the "democratisation" ofthe Nepal Army are so
far largely self-directed and more concerned with beautifying the bureaucracy surrounding the army, rather than
making the institution more accountable and smaller.
These long-term projects would be easy to push on to the
back burner. But to do so would undermine implementation ofthe new constitution and the deep political reform
envisaged in the CPA, and consolidation of lasting peace.
State restructuring, though broadly agreed to be essential
or unavoidable, plays out in public as a binary debate on the
Maoists' contested definition of federalism, rather than on
what it is Nepalis want out of this change and how best to
deliver that.
The immediate tasks, integration and getting the new
constitution right, are critical to addressing these issues in
the long term. This government has close to the two-thirds
majority needed to pass the constitution or extend the CA.
But the resistance of some in the NC and the Madhesi
parties, encouraged by India, could make for another
messy, last-minute action, in which substantive issues are
compromised to defend power-sharing arrangements. Further, a constitution, or a plan for its deferral, that any ofthe
larger parties does not sign off on would be contested
from the start. Visible progress is needed to reassure the
fractured polity and public that the task of transforming the
state has not been abandoned and to counter the threat of
localised violence in the lead up to the 28 May deadline.
Ideally, extension ofthe CA would be short and accompanied by a non-negotiable timeline for resolution ofthe federalism question, and public disclosure of even a partial draft.
The NC and Madhesi parties from the country's southern
Tarai region should join the government to make decisions
truly consensual and share the political gains of success.
Until then, the ruling UML-Maoist coalition needs urgently to engage with these parties. The Maoists must finally
make a good faith gesture on dismantling its People's
Liberation Army (PLA). The NC must go beyond its rhetorical dichotomy of democracy versus Maoist state capture
and contribute constructively to negotiations.
The Maoists are undergoing a transformation, dramatically visible in divisive public spats between the leaders, as
the party simultaneously acts as a revolutionary movement,
a political party aggressively pushing the limits of democratic practice, and an expanding enterprise of financial
interests and patronage. With the Maoists announcing, while
in government, the creation of a new "volunteer" outfit,
continuing extortion by the party' s various wings, monopoly
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 2
over decision-making and intimidation in some districts,
and ideological reiteration of "revolt", they are a difficult
partner to trust. This is their moment to acknowledge that
capturing state power through armed force is no longer on
their agenda, and to address the deep discontent within
the leadership.
For the NC and UML, which have done little to rebuild
their political organisations and regain political space after
the 2008 CA elections, contributing positively to immediate
and medium-term peace process goals could revitalise
their bases. Their greatest challenges come from divisions
within, rigidity towards the new political order, and the
social changes at the grassroots. Their weak organisations
and internal disputes, reservations about the extent of reform
proposed by the peace process and poorly articulated party
policies may further marginalise them.
Most Madhesi parties, whose participation in national
politics in the last two years has been largely limited to
making up the numbers for a variety of alliances, still
look to New Delhi for assistance. Their political agenda is
devalued by their opportunistic political alliances, but
they retain the ability, with some assistance, to mobilise
in order to give the government a hard time and push for
a role in decision-making so their concerns are addressed.
With the departure of UNMIN, New Delhi again finds itself in a leadership role in international engagement with
Nepal. The new coalition demonstrates the limits of its
policy of isolating the Maoists and India must now reassess whether it can continue to hold this position and
whether dissolution of the CA, its preferred option, will
have controllable consequences. Re-engagement with the
Maoists will require the various sections ofthe Indian establishment to manoeuvre themselves out of the corner
they have painted themselves into; having supported and
encouraged Nepali actors in taking extreme anti-Maoist
stances, they will have to backtrack, potentially leaving
allies in Kathmandu to pay the political price. The rest of
the international community needs to offer consultative,
unstinting and transparent support to implementing long-
term peace process commitments.
The broad links between peace process issues, particularly
constitotion-drafting and integration, and power sharing, the
rifts within the parties, and the variable impact on Nepali
politics of New Delhi were clear throughout the deadlock
over the election of a new prime minister.' They all played
On these issues, see past Crisis Group reporting: on the CPA,
major peace process issues and contestation about them, Crisis
into the circumstances and deals surrounding the sixteen
futile rounds of voting and eventual formation of the
UML-Maoist government in February 2011, the engineering ofthe departure of UNMIN from September 2010,
and the midnight extension ofthe Constituent Assembly
in May 2010.2 Although the present government could
garner the two-thirds majority needed to pass a partial
constitution, leadership of the government could again
become a destabilising bargaining chip for a range of issues.
Essentially, the peace process has been reduced to completing integration and hence disbanding the PLA, and quick
promulgation of a new constitution; other commitments
to institutional and social reform, and to addressing impunity, have largely fallen by the wayside.
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), UCPN(M),
agreed to extend the Constituent Assembly as part of a
deal in which Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned
in June 2010. Sixteen rounds of unsuccessful parliamentary
voting followed to elect a new prime minister over the next
seven months. In eleven of them, the NC candidate contested unchallenged; in the last few rounds there was not
even the required quorum present.3 There was a good deal of
squabbling within the parties about prime ministerial candidates and possible coalitions. There was no progress on
integration, though the three largest parties, the
UCPN(M), NC and UML, did occasionally huddle together
to re-state their positions on the "package deal" of integration, power sharing and the constitution. In the meantime,
there was a vigorous undermining of UNMIN and a
Group Asia Reports N° 126, Nepal's Peace Agreement: Making
it Work, 15 December 2006; N°155, Nepal's Election: A
Peaceful Revolution?, 3 July 2008; N°163, Nepal's Faltering
Peace Process, 19 February 2009; N°184, Nepal: Peace and
Justice, 14 Jan 2010; N°199, Nepal: Identity Politics and Federalism, 13 January 2011; and Crisis Group Asia Briefings
N°68, Nepal's Fragile Peace Process, 28 September 2007;
N°72, Nepal: Peace Postponed, 17 December 2007; on the resilience of Nepal's political process and how they act against
transformations, Asia Report N°l 94, Nepal's Political Rites of
Passage, 29 September 2010; on the changing peace process
context and variable international influence, Asia Reports
N°l 32, Nepal's Maoists: Purists orPragmatists, 18 May 2007;
N°136, Nepal's Troubled Tarai Region, 9 July 2007; N°156,
Nepal's New Political Landscape, 3 July 2008;N°173,iVe/>a/'.s
Future: In Whose Hands, 13 August 2009. Full Nepali translations
of all reports and briefings from 2007 onwards are available at
www. crisisgroup. org/nepali.
2 Under the terms ofthe peace agreement and interim constitution,
the CA was elected in April 2008 with a 28 May 2010 deadline
to draft and announce the new constitution. This was extended
by one year the night it was due to expire.
3 "Voting being repeated to satisfy Maoists, speaker: Paudel",, 10 October 2010.
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 3
steady erosion ofthe restrictive authority ofthe arms and
armies agreement over the Nepal Army (NA).4
UNMIN's January 2011 departure was followed by some
movement on the peace process, namely the handover of
the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) to the government, and a parallel agreement to amend parliamentary
rules so that a fresh election would have to produce a new
government. But UNMIN's critics, who had insisted there
would be progress when the mission was no longer there
"shielding the Maoists", were probably not expecting the
UML and UCPN(M) to reach the deal which allowed
Maoist chairman Prachanda to bow out ofthe prime ministerial contest in order to support the UML chairman
Jhala Nath Khanal.5 The handover ofthe PLA to the government was, broadly speaking, symbolic. The still-intact
chain of command has not begun reporting to the special
committee for supervision, integration and rehabilitation
of Maoist army combatants created in 2009,6 and the
In September 2010, with days to go for UNMIN's mandate to
expire, the caretaker government and Maoists reached a four-point
deal which allowed one final extension of the mandate. The
unwritten fifth point was that the NA could resume procurement of ammunition it said was needed for peacekeeping training. The NA resumed recruitment in 2010, in violation of the
agreement on monitoring of the management of arms and armies (AMMAA). In 2010, a smear campaign against UNMIN
had alleged a pro-Maoist bias and questioned the competence
of its leadership and the UN Department of Political Affairs.
The caretaker government's September 2010 request for an extension barely referred to the peace process, and did not acknowledge the complex political stalemate or UNMIN's role as
a political, notjust technical, mission. On the previous government's anti-Maoist stance, the NA's resistance to change and
Indian support for these positions, see Crisis Group Report,
Nepal's Future: In Whose Hands, op. cit.
5 Despite its limited influence on party politics and peace process negotiations, UNMIN's presence had been blamed for lack
of progress on all fronts. The UML-Maoist deal only came to
light after Khanal was elected. It drew sharp criticism from the
conservative faction ofthe UML, which objected to the content
and said that Khanal and his supporters had negotiated in secret.
The NC added the fear of "leftist entrenchment" and polarisation to its chorus of Maoist "state capture". The opponents of
the deal did have some substantive and understandable concerns about commitments to the creation of a new security
force that would comprise PLA combatants and personnel from
the other state security forces; to allocating the home ministry
to the Maoists; and to rotating the premiership between the
UML and UCPN(M). The agreement is clearly a starting point
for negotiations; Khanal and Prachanda cannot have believed it
would remain secret or be broadly acceptable, and one of Khanal's first acts as prime minister was to ask the NC to join the
government. But negotiations on extension ofthe C A could still
be complicated if Prachanda argues that, as the leader of the
largest party, he should take over as prime minister before 28 May.
6 The special committee met sporadically and mostly ineffectively until the end of 2010. Since the handover ofthe PLA, the
shambolic national monitoring mechanism cobbled together to replace UNMIN has more notional than actual
value.7 Yet there is no fear of a breakdown in the Maoist
cantonments and the Nepal Army has not gone any further
in challenging the restrictions placed on it.
Prime Minister Khanal pulled through a difficult start in
office, weathering criticism from his own party, the NC and
even dissenters in the UCPN(M). He urged acceptance ofthe
deal within the UML, negotiated with the Madhesi Janadhi-
kar Forum (Nepal), MJF(N), led by Upendra Yadav to join
the government, and continues to court the NC as well.
But the complex factional dynamics within the UML and
UCPN(M), which led to disagreement over ministerial portfolios and persistent calls to scrap the deal, could yet
weaken the coalition.8 The government faces other chal-
special committee and its secretariat have restarted negotiations
on integration and the secretariat nominally oversees the monitoring of both armies.
7The parties agreed to entrust UNMIN's monitoring role to the
special committee the day the mission closed shop. The small
monitoring teams that took the place of the UN monitors included representatives from the NA and Armed Police Force
(APF), as well as the PLA and the secretariat of the special
committee. The UN donated monitoring equipment to the government, which is struggling to replicate the conditions needed
to use it, including ensuring uninterrupted power supply for the
cameras and satellite internet connections to transmit photos of
the weapons containers that are under observation in the seven
main PLA cantonment sites and the Nepal Army's Chhauni,
Kathmandu barracks. The new monitors have no cars or proper
housing. The secretariat ofthe special committee continues to
bicker about the details of continued monitoring. In February,
almost a month after UNMIN left the cantonments, the special
committee had reportedly only been able to visit three ofthe 21
satellite PLA cantonments. "Satellite camps unmonitored since
UNMIN exit", Republica, 14 February 2011. Although the
monitoring is weak, the joint teams - despite the challenges
they face - have gone some way to build trust between all
sides. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, February 2011.
8 Senior leaders of both the UML and UCPN(M) have made
unhelpful comments about the government. Khanal's competitor in the UML, KP Oli, criticised his "human weakness" for
signing the agreement without the consent ofthe party. Maoist
vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai has said the coalition is incapable of moving the peace process ahead. See, for example
"Maoists can't be given home ministry: Oli",,
18 February 2011; and "Peace, constitution not possible under
Khanal govt: Bhattarai",, 5 February 2011.
Prachanda is under pressure from factions of the UCPN(M).
For some leaders who oppose the current course of engagement
and compromise, such as Netra Bikram Chand "Biplov", ministerial portfolios have little attraction; yet all factions of the
party have to be represented and there are scores of aspirants.
The conservative faction ofthe UML, like the NC, criticises the
Maoist demand for the home ministry, saying the party will
then control the Nepal Police and Armed Police Force in addition to its PLA. But it is unlikely that the UCPN(M) will be
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 4
lenges too: the NC could resist any deal on integration;
protests by Madhesi parties against extension ofthe Constituent Assembly (CA), and other means of obstruction tacitly supported by New Delhi, could be complicated if a
sharp deterioration in public security or engineered outbreaks of localised violence, particularly in the Tarai and
Kathmandu, are used as leverage.9
This government commands close to a two-thirds majority, which is needed to pass the new constitution or to extend
the CA's term.10 The opposition parties are not driven by
a single motivation in calling for dissolution of the CA
and fresh elections. The political identity of Madhesi parties,
all but one of which are out ofthe government, lies in the
demand for state restructuring and greater political and
social inclusion. Yet they oppose an extension with the
support of the Indian establishment, and have few ideas
about what happens after that, other than a general election.
The NC is still committed to the peace process, but is unsure whether it should join the government and in any case
could not join in a leadership position. The party may
thus tactically oppose the extension to push for a change
in government.11
able to compel either police force to act in its interest, and there
is acknowledgement in private that the critical faction of the
UML will be satisfied if it receives other powerful or lucrative
ministries in exchange. Prime Minister Khanal has been criticised for the difficulty he is having in expanding his cabinet,
but it took Madhav Kumar Nepal from 25 May to 11 September 2009, eight expansions, and the splitting of three ministries
to make six to pay his dues to coalition partners. Nepal formed
a cabinet of 44, the second largest since Sher Bahadur Deuba's
1996 government, which included just over 20 per cent of all MPs.
9 After months of relative calm in Nepal's southern Tarai region, in
three days in late March 2011, four improvised explosive devices were detonated on civilian buses. One person died and
over 40 were injured. No group claimed responsibility, but there is
concern that such attacks may be targeted at discrediting the
government and challenging extension of the CA. "Samvid-
hansabhavirudha manchit himsa", Kantipur, 28 March 2011.
I ° The concerns raised in May 2010 about the interim constitution provision which links declaration of a state of emergency
with extension of the CA have not been mentioned this time
around. This is perhaps the effect of a Supreme Court ruling in
February 2011 that the CA was allowed to extend its term to
complete its task, citing Articles 64 and 83 ofthe interim constitution. "CA extension decision irrevocable, says SC", The Kathmandu Post, 24 February 2011.
II Despite this sabre-rattling many in the mainstream parties are
aware of the risks dissolution would entail, including both
Maoist backlash and authoritarian assertion. Crisis Group interviews, New Delhi and Kathmandu, January-March 2011. Challenges to an extension could also come from within the government. When the CA was extended in 2010, over half of the
UML's 108 CA members threatened to cross the floor, or even
split from the party, ifthe simultaneous extension and resignation of PM Nepal, as demanded by the Maoists, did not go
The unwritten eighth point ofthe UML-Maoist deal was
agreement to extend the CA by six months. But since the
opposition sees the deal as evidence ofthe untrustworthiness
ofthe coalition and its malign intentions, opposing extension
is another way to reject and challenge this government.
Neither Prime Minister Khanal nor Prachanda have renounced the clause on rotational power-sharing between
their two parties, which gives the opposition and factions
within their own parties further leverage. The other major
challenge will be whether the parties can agree on federalism. Madhesi parties will need guarantees that these
issues will be resolved by the end ofthe CA's extended
term, or that handing over responsibility for the design of
the new states to the state restructuring commission is not a
ploy to delay and dilute the commitment to federalism.12
A. Timelines and Sequencing
The 28 May 2011 deadline for writing a constitution is ambitious, given the speed with which parties will need to
agree on contentious issues. Further, few even in the NC,
despite their occasional gloomy prophesying and scepticism
about the CA's ability to demonstrate progress by the
deadline, are willing to stand publicly against the constitution. 13 But ifthe last four years are any indication, progress
will be scattered, slow and in lockstep with specific concessions on ministerial portfolios and CA-related issues.
The buy-in ofthe NC, especially by joining the government,
is essential to reaching broad, relatively uncontroversial
agreement on the CA. The NC has said that it will join the
government if the UML-Maoist seven-point deal is
scrapped. But it is clear that the Maoists will also have to
make concessions on disbanding the PLA. The preferred
sequencing of the NC and other actors means that progress must be made on integration before the renewal of
the term of the CA. Some sections of the Maoists are
convinced that if they give up the PLA before the constitution is secured, the other parties will not come through on the
new statute, but there is little evidence for this.
The demand that the Maoists take irreversible steps on
integration and rehabilitation before promulgation ofthe
new constitution is reasonable and arguably would yield
faster progress than even scrapping the seven-point deal. But
the NC, confused about what it wants out of this process,
keeps shifting goalposts. For example, "regrouping" of
PLA combatants, earlier accepted as evidence of progress,
through. This year, the faction opposed to Jhala Nath Khanal
could do the same, ifthe NC were to raise the demand, or ifthe
disgruntled Maoist faction led by Baburam Bhattarai were to do
so. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, February-March 2011.
12 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2011.
13 See for example, "Consensus crucial for timely statute",, 8 March 2011.
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 5
could again give rise to criticism that it is merely a symbolic step, as long as the PLA's structures remain intact.14
The NC and sections of the UML are also reviving their
demand that PLA personnel must be completely "delinked" from the party before they can be integrated into the
Nepal Army. Regrouping does not achieve this and neither
do the integration options being proposed by the Maoists.
This argument could be stretched to resist practically any
movement on integration.
The big three parties will have to weigh the risks of
brinksmanship against short-term gains they might make
from denying each other success or concessions. Urgent
decisions need to be made on whether the CA can pull
together a draft constitution to present to the public that includes most issues and commitments and non-negotiable
timelines to resolve the others. Without concrete evidence
of progress, the parties will be relying on little more than
their dubious charm, and the credibility ofthe CA, as much
as it has been getting things done, will be strained further.
With the Maoists back in government and the UML's less
sceptical faction at its helm, some of the unsavoury options on the table last year will be considerably harder to
push through. These include the direct involvement ofthe
president, tacitly backed by the Nepal Army.15
"Regrouping" of Maoist fighters into those who want to be
integrated, want rehabilitation packages, or want to retire could
mean as little as giving them government-issued identity cards
which are coded by their choice, to replace the UN-issued ones
which mark them as verified PLA personnel. Or it could mean
consolidation of some cantonments and closure of others,
though if this does happen, there will doubtless be some manufactured hysteria over Maoist fighters being let loose in the
country before 28 May. In any case, the logistics are considerable. As a first step the government will need to procure ID-
making machines and send them to the cantonments. Crisis
Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2011.
15 These options have become more remote also because of sensitivity to public perception. UNMIN's final report to the Security Council noted the risk of confrontational moves by the
president, the Nepal Army and the Maoists. "Report ofthe Secretary-General on Nepal's Request for United Nations Assistance in Support of its Peace Process", UN Security Council
document S/2010/658, 23 December 2010. In response, President Ram Baran Yadav, Maoist Chairman Prachanda and the
Nepal army immediately denied that they harboured such intentions. President Yadav said he felt "stabbed through the heart",
Prachanda dismissed the analysis as based on "gossip", and the
government described the report as "wild" and "malicious".
The CA is repeatedly called a failure by nay sayers.16 Yet,
even through the deadlock CA sub-committees continued
to discuss constitutional issues and at the higher level
considerable progress has been made.17 Days after the
Maoists joined the new government, agreement was reached
on a bicameral house and the formation of a constitutional court. Agreement on forms of governance, electoral
systems and oversight of the judiciary depend almost entirely on the Maoists' increasing willingness to compromise.
The party is already displaying flexibility on its demand
for a directly elected executive president, among other
issues.18 The transitional mechanisms that will come into
effect when the work ofthe CA is completed have been
agreed upon, with the legislature-parliament, prime minister and president all retaining their present roles and
Federalism remains contested, as does the forum in which
it should be discussed. The NC and UCPN(M) have flip-
flopped on whether they support formation of the state
restructuring commission mandated in the 2007 interim
constitution. They cite the room to make decisions in the
CA, the work already done by the CA's sub-committee, and
the provision in the CPA for the commission, but their
Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-February 2011.
One monarchist analyst said he was certain that there could not
be a constitution "or at least not one that won't be burnt in the
17Ahigh-level task force led by Prachanda resolved 127 ofthe
210 "contentious issues" forwarded to it by the CA's Draft
Study Committee from October to December 2010. These included, among others, matters related to national interest, fundamental rights and directive principles, and separation of
powers at the local level, and were endorsed by the constitutional committee, which will prepare the draft ofthe constitution. "Sub committee formed to settle statute issues", The Himalayan Times online, 25 February 2011. The term ofthe task
force was not extended when smaller parties objected to decisions being made outside the framework of CA bodies. Since
the formation of the new government, Prachanda has led the
constitutional committee's dispute resolution sub-committee,
which also includes the NC's prime ministerial candidate and
head of its parliamentary party Ram Chandra Poudel and former UML prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. The subcommittee resolved more than half of the remaining 80-odd issues, leaving the questions of state restructuring and electoral
systems and forms of governance. "No real progress in dispute
resolution", Republica, 29 March 2011. Prachanda's nomination to this leadership role has in every case been unanimous
and uncontested by all other parties. Prachanda's rivals within
the Maoist party have been critical, saying that he had compromised on too many issues and "monopolised" the constitution-writing process.
18 There will certainly be some contestation of specific provisions.
For example, the NC now opposes the agreed-upon proposal for a
constitutional court.
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 6
positions are mainly driven by the need to obstruct, speed up,
or slow down the process.19
The Madhesi parties have consistently opposed the state
restructuring commission, arguing that the proper venue
is the CA. They fear that the commission will be a means
of delaying and watering down federalism. Though it is
disingenuous to assume that decisions in the commission
will be any more "rational" or technical and hence less
political than in the CA, the CA sub-committee potentially
allows smaller parties a greater voice in the discussion,
which might in a commission be taken over by representatives ofthe three big parties.20
While the NC and many in the UML are deeply uncomfortable with federalism, they and other parties will make
tactical decisions on it, based on the comparative political
gains of reaching partial agreement, delaying all agreement,
or bartering for other deals such as integration. If major
decisions are deferred to a commission, they will eventually
need to be passed by the CA, or by the legislature-
parliament, which will continue if the CA is dissolved
following promulgation ofthe rest ofthe constitution, or by
the house that replaces it following a general election.
Whatever the scenario, the outcomes that the federalism
lobby envisages are not articulated exclusively by the
Maoists and will be kept on the table by identity groups.21
A loud minority is calling for reinstatement ofthe 1990
constitution, another for a referendum on past decisions
such as federalism, declaration ofthe republic and secu-
For example, the Maoists attempted to form the commission
while in government, and the NC opposed it. Now the NC wants
it, and the Maoists oppose it.
20 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2011.
21 While even members ofthe most conservative parties admit
that a state structure that enables Kathmandu's stranglehold
over resources and decision-making needs to be changed, they
are uncomfortable with the term "federalism". They associate
the term with the Maoists' identification of it with ethnically
determined state boundaries, names and agradhikar (first
rights). "Why not do the same thing, but call it extreme decentralisation", a senior leader of a rightist party asked. Crisis
Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-February 2011. For
more on federalism, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity
Politics and Federalism, op. cit. The public debate is mired in
an obsession with the spectre of fragmentation and cynical, patronising opinions such as "Nepalis don't know what federalism is and don't want it". There is little acknowledgement of
the multiple possibilities of "federalism", of replacing agradhikar with the more palatable and proven measure of affirmative
action, or the desirable long-term outcomes from state restructuring including greater responsiveness and local accountability
of state institutions. The Maoists have done little to help untangle this or explain their position and points of flexibility more
clearly, and the Madhes-based groups have not contributed
constructively to the public discourse either.
larism, as well as the future ofthe CA. This group argues
that the February 2011 Supreme Court ruling on the C A' s
extension constituted interference in politics and so does
not have legitimacy.22 But the political actors who support
this position for ideological reasons do not have broad
political support in Kathmandu.
There will undoubtedly be groups unhappy with parts ofthe
constitution. The challenge for all parties as they speed
through the drafting process will be to produce a reasonable
constitution that is unambiguous on matters like the role
ofthe executive, control ofthe security forces and federalism, but which also has the room to accommodate Nepal's
political exigencies.
c. integration and rehabilitation of
Maoist Army Personnel
Although the fundamental decisions will be negotiated at
the highest political levels, resumption under the new
government of meetings ofthe special committee and the
commitment to a 50-day plan for integration are positive
signs. For the UCPN(M) and Prachanda personally, the PLA
is of mixed political utility. Since the CPA, it has contributed little to the party except through diversion of part of
combatants' salaries to party coffers. The PLA has not
systematically been used in any major political action,
such as strikes or during campaigning for the C A election.
Dogmatists maintain that, as per Mao, "without a people's
army, the people have nothing", but Prachanda and other
leaders know that negotiating away the PLA is central to the
peace process.
Ex-combatants will probably have the choice of being integrated into the security forces, opting for a rehabilitation
package, retiring or entering political life. No survey of
preferences or skills has been conducted yet. Though the
combatants are unlikely to have absolute freedom to
choose, they would still benefit from knowing their options,
and so it would be good to reach agreement, if not on
numbers then on the modalities (the standards, ranks, etc)
of integration and on the rehabilitation packages before the
survey. The Maoists still sometimes talk of needing the
survey done before an agreement among the political parties
on numbers, but there is consensus that 6,000 to 8,000 will
be integrated. Unofficial estimates suggest that about
13,000 to 14,000 ofthe 19,000 ex-combatants are still in
the cantonments.23
Crisis Group interviews, January-March 2011. See, for example,
Surya Dhungel, "The disturbing verdict", Spotlight, 19 March 2011.
23 Negotiations on the PLA will force the parties to renounce
some oftheir cant. For example, the Maoists say it is "unscientific" to decide numbers before a survey, but have often invoked a previous agreement made with Girija Prasad Koirala to
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The timing ofthe survey and prerequisites for it is just one
area where decisions can be held up. The Maoists, who
now seem to want to move quickly on integration,24 came
up immediately against the NC, which demanded that the
monitoring mechanism that replaced UNMIN first be
strengthened by being fully-staffed and equipped.25 The
NC seems deeply confused about what it is willing to accept,
variously insisting on no integration whatsoever to cautiously considering Maoist proposals. It obstructs by tactically advancing and then withdrawing its agreement to
the modalities and numbers for integration. It has exhibited
minimum flexibility, agreeing only to small modifications
of existing Nepal Army criteria, and constantly shifts the
goalposts on what the UCPN(M) must do before there can
be agreement
The Maoists themselves have done their share to keep
alive the mistrust.27 They have not allowed an independent headcount with positive identification in the cantonments since the UN verification process was completed in
December 2007. The party has kept up its rhetoric about
"people's revolt" if there is no constitution and is forming a
new force putatively for this purpose. This hardly builds an
environment of trust, especially in conjunction with fears
that it is attempting to retain PLA structures, including
within the framework ofthe state. Ifthe party chooses to, it
could return to insisting that integration and democratisa-
tion of the Nepal Army have to be parallel processes,
which will again hold up negotiations.
Some UCPN(M) leaders say they were spooked by the
discharge ofthe disqualified combatants in January 2010,
during which tensions occasionally ran high against the
party leadership, and Prachanda himself has said that the
party needs time to deal with the PLA and individuals'
aspirations.28 Though the PLA is the subject of much discussion and remains well-represented in the party's decision-making bodies, there has been a distinct drop over the
past year in its public visibility as a distinct entity with its
own voice
The discussion on modalities is fractured, though the idea of
the "mixed force" under the NA remains one option, as
proposed days before the formation of the UML-Maoist
government by the three big parties. This would have representation from the PLA, NA and APF, and be under NA
command.30 The creation of such a new force with a half-
baked, contested mandate, suspicion within and a resentful
integrate 3,000 to 5,000. See "PLA integration", The Kathmandu Post, 13 September 2009. The NC and its ilk will have
to decide whether the UCPN(M) is getting the lion's share ofthe
Rs.5,000 ($68) monthly salary the government pays PLA fighters because "there are hardly any fighters left in the camps", or
whether "the Maoists still have an intact army". These political
actors also say, sometimes on the same day, both that "the
Maoists are never going back to war" and that Maoist state capture using violent means is imminent. Likewise, some argue
that barely any "real PLA" were sent to be cantoned, while others say the cantonments are hotbeds of rebellion. Crisis Group
interviews, Kathmandu, New Delhi, January-February 2011.
24 One central committee member and a PLA commander insisted that the party's bottom-line was the constitution and not
making a fuss about integration. He likened the PLA to the feet
and the constitution to the mind and said, "it's foolish to think
that the feet are indispensable for walking, the head does the
real work". Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, February 2011.
25 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, February 2011. The
Maoists argue that rather than reinventing the monitoring process,
there should be concerted effort to move the integration and rehabilitation process forward; this was also UNMIN's position.
26 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, February 2011. For example, the NC says time in the PLA can be counted as part of
years of service when determining rank, but combatants will
still need to go through the training and tests for promotions to
their designated rank. This would also bring integrated combatants up to retirement age quickly. But the NC is not budging
from its three basic positions: no "bulk" integration, integrated
personnel must meet the standard norms for recruitment, and the
NA's standards will determine rank.
27 However, the Maoists have taken some steps on integration,
including handing over the PLA to the government in early
2011 and allowing the NA to resume ammunition procurement.
28 In January and February 2010, the Maoists finally discharged
some 4,000 personnel disqualified in the UN verification process for not meeting the cut-off date of recruitment or minimum
age for cantonment. The discharge process, widely seen as a
trial balloon for integration and rehabilitation, has thrown up
problems. Contrary to assumptions that most would be accommodated in the Young Communist League (YCL) or Maoist
unions, a number have been left to their own devices and express deep disillusionment and occasionally anger at the party.
Others have been formally or informally absorbed into local
party structures, which keep an eye on them. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-February 2011.
29 Ofthe sixteen standing committee members, those who held
direct war-time commanding responsibilities in the PLA include Barsha Man Pun "Ananta" (Commander Eastern Division), Netra Bikram Chand "Biplov" (Mid Central Command
Special Regional Bureau In-Charge), Ram Bahadur Thapa
"Badal" (Commissar Eastern Division) and Janardan Sharma
"Prabhakar" (PLA Deputy Commander). Except Biplov, all
have been cabinet members. The PLA and Commander Nanda
Kishore Pun "Pasang" do not take public positions on matters
independent ofthe party line, instead they participate in discussions and activities ofthe special committee, its secretariat and
the monitoring mechanism.
30 The NA has proposed various options. The latest, which it put
forward in March 2011, suggested the formation of a separate
security force of 12,000 personnel, half of whom would be
drawn from the PLA. Unlike earlier NA plans, which asked that
any force including ex-Maoist combatants be unarmed and not
responsible for security of national parks or along the border,
this proposal did not include such caveats. "PLA integration:
Army mellows on PLA fighters' entry",, 28
March 2011. Phanindra Dahal, "Nepal Army's rider on PLA
combatants' integration", The Kathmandu Post, 28 February 2011.
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Page 8
relationship to overall command and control, is a bad idea
and will not help achieve broader goals of security sector
reform, such as downsizing and democratising the NA.
Yet, politically, this option allows all the parties to skirt
potentially intractable differences on rank harmonisation
and norms for entry into the NA, just as it allows the NA to
accept integration, but keep the former PLA combatants
penned away, unable to "contaminate" the larger force, and
still broadly under army control. To counter this proposal, the
NC will have to do more than reiterate its insistence that a
certain number of PLA combatants go through what is
essentially a recruitment process into the NA.31
There are deep divisions within nearly every party, even
small ones, a symptom of Nepal's turbulent political
landscape. These fault lines will persist for some time no
matter what course Nepal's politics takes in coming
months.32 The intense disagreements within the Maoists,
NC and UML over their own candidates for the marathon
parliamentary voting in the second half of 2010 were only
partially indicative of differing opinions on the individuals'
abilities to win the election or the wisdom of specific alliances. They highlighted rivalries at the top of each party
and factionalism within their central committees.
Prachanda first proposed the Khanal-Prachanda alliance
six months before it came to fruition. He did so as much to
build a stable alliance as to counter the influence within
the UCPN(M) of Maoist vice-chairman and ideologue
Baburam Bhattarai and his acceptability outside the party
as a potential prime minister. Within the UML, resistance to
the alliance from the camp of former deputy prime minister
K.P. Oli was equal parts fear of Maoist encroachment on
the UML's political space and a reaction to Khanal defeating Oli to become party chairman in February 2009.33
Within the NC, the spasmodic leaning towards the Maoists
by Sher Bahadur Deuba, former prime minister and leader
ofthe splinter NC (Democratic) which reunited with the NC
31 The Nepal Army has its own opinions and has made presentations to former prime minister Madhav Nepal and to the special
committee. Senior NA officers have been clear in public and
private that integration would threaten, variously, the integrity,
honesty and professionalism ofthe NA. Assuming all parties,
including the NC, do want stronger civilian control over the
NA, they would do well to assess the army's suggestions, such
as placing former Maoist combatants in unarmed units, for their
technical and political merits, no matter how much they yearn
to keep the Maoists in check.
32 Since 2006, at least seven new political parties have emerged out
of direct splits from existing parties.
33On the UML's internal dynamics, see Crisis Group Report,
Nepal's Faltering Peace Process, op. cit.
in September 2007, was an attempt to counter the influence of president Suhsil Koirala and parliamentary party
leader Ram Chandra Poudel.
Despite their internal turmoil, the Maoists still set the
agenda, to which the other major parties react. But while the
NC and sections ofthe UML have found some favour for
their oppositional stance in Kathmandu and New Delhi, that
alone is not enough for these parties to regain wider support.
These parties need to revitalise their local support base
and systematically counter Maoist dominance in some
districts, rather than being content to just divide the spoils of
local development budgets.34
The level of inter-party violence has declined since Madhav
Kumar Nepal's resignation as prime minister on 30 June
2010.35 During Nepal's thirteen months in office, there were
frequent inter-party clashes, most of them between members of the UCPN(M) and UML and affiliated groups,
with violence spiking during Maoist protests.36 While the
Maoists were responsible for much ofthe local violence,
they were also on the receiving end. During these thirteen
months, armed groups reportedly killed four of them,
UML cadres three, and unidentified attackers six.37 It is too
34 Few political actors say that they are unable to do grassroots
political work because of Maoist assertion and entrenchment,
except in some UCPN(M) strongholds. When senior leaders do
go back to their constituencies regularly, it appears to be of
their own volition, rather than because of party policy. Nor is it
clear whether individual leaders can or do act as the interface
between district committees and party central committees. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-February 2011.
35 "Political party youth wings in Nepal", The Carter Center, 28
February 2011. See also the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP),
which provides a timeline of maj or political developments and
violent incidents in Nepal. Available at:
36Informal Sector Service Centre, INSEC, the national human
rights organisation with the most comprehensive records, presents data on killings, abductions and beatings by political parties, affiliates and armed groups in its Human Rights Yearbooks. According to these statistics, Maoist party cadres and
student and youth activists were responsible for approximately
38 per cent of all threats and beatings recorded in 2010 (532 out
of 1,391) and 47 per cent in 2009 (922 out of 1,963). "Human
Rights Yearbook", INSEC, 2009 and 2010.
37 See SATP timeline and "Human Rights Yearbook", INSEC,
2009 and 2010, both op. cit. Monitoring reports paint this political violence as a "state versus Maoists" or "Maoists versus
others" affair, ignoring the complexity of armed group and
criminal violence, as well as the violence inflicted by other parties or their affiliates, and clashes between other parties, such as
NC and UML. In the "Statistics of Human Rights Violations"
section of their Human Rights Yearbooks, INSEC lists data
only for the state, the Maoists and "others", ignoring figures for
groups that perpetrated more violence than the Maoists. For example, armed groups in the Tarai were to blame for 29 killings
in 2010 while the UCPN(M) was only responsible for four.
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early to speculate on what the reduction in the killing of
Maoists signifies. More broadly, the decline of clashes
and attacks between Maoists and UML or NC could indicate that relations between political parties in the districts
have calmed down, perhaps because local struggles over
patronage and resources are nearing a new equilibrium.38
There are tensions and rivalries between the three UCPN(M)
leaders - Prachanda, Senior Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya
"Kiran" and Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai, who is
also the party's main ideologue - and their supporters.
These have played out in various forms over the past
year, including in their frequent public sniping at each
other, the disagreement over Prachanda's candidacy in
both election processes, the split into three ofthe lucrative
trade union and widening rifts in other bodies.39 A future
split in the party is possible, but it is too early to say how
it will play out, whether the radical fringe will go its own
way, or whether the broadly pro-mainstream politics constituency currently represented by both Bhattarai and
Prachanda will cleave in two.
The disagreements over the party's tactics were clear at
the plenum in Palungtar, Gorkha, and the resulting central
committee meeting. Prachanda's political paper, which
the central committee eventually endorsed, was a mash-
up of the straight ideological line of revolt of Mohan
Baidya "Kiran", and the geopolitically informed views of
Baburam Bhattarai. It set out a two-pronged tactical plan:
to work towards "peace and [a] constitution", while also
preparing for "people's revolt". One analyst described the
differences among the three leaders as being about "the
'principal contradiction' ;40 the correct 'revolutionary line';
the immediate tactics; and the problems facing the organisation".41 Other differences are more about personal
vendettas and individual power within the party. Although there are three factions in the party, there are, in
fact, only two lines, with Prachanda borrowing liberally from
each depending on the circumstances.
Some ofthe differences are as follows:
□ Prachanda and Kiran disagree on India with Bhattarai,
who did his PhD at Jawaharlal Nehru University in
Delhi. Bhattarai's education makes him vulnerable
to allegations of divided loyalties when he says that India
is not the "chief enemy", that the international conditions
are not favourable for revolution, and that "nationalist"
alliances with monarchists and others are a bad idea.
Prachanda and Kiran feel hard done by India; Prachanda
for his thwarted prime ministerial ambitions and Kiran
for the extended imprisonment in Siliguri, which kept
him away from critical negotiations in 2005 and 2006.
□ Prachanda and Bhattarai disagree with Kiran who
thinks that the September 2005 twelve-point agreement
between the Maoists and the mainstream Seven-Party
Alliance to jointly mobilise against the absolute rule of
King Gyanendra was wrong. They argue that the gains
the party has accrued from participation in the process
(and democratic politics), including secularism, federalism and the republic, should be safeguarded.42 All
three agree a people's constitution is needed, but
"Human Rights Yearbook", INSEC, 2006-2011. SATP fact-
sheets on fatalities continue to use wartime categories in a way
which suggests that violence still mainly takes place between
security forces and "Maoist insurgents". See its "Fatalities in
Maoist Insurgency since March 2000", SATP,
satporgtp/countrie s/nepal/database/fNatalities. htm.
38 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Political Rites of Passage,
op. cit., pp. 21-24.
39 See, for example, Post Bahadur Basnet, "District by district
Bhattarai works up stake in party", Republica, 28 March 2011.
Each of the three top leaders have attempted to encroach on
each other's support base and during training for cadres in early
2011, each held parallel sessions with their own loyalists. In
2010 sections ofthe party argued that the party should only
field a candidate who could garner a two-thirds majority, at a
time when Bhattarai was the candidate of choice even for non-
Maoists. The second time around, Bhattarai wrote a note of dissent on Prachanda's last-minute withdrawal, arguing that the
party should contest the election when it had a chance of winning. Prachanda bowed out when Bijay Gachhadar of the
MJF(Loktantrik), encouraged by New Delhi, decided to contest,
thus ensuring that the UCPN(M) would not get the Madhesi vote.
It would have been difficult for the Maoists, if not impossible,
to get UML support for another government led by them.
40 The more dogmatic faction of the party, which Prachanda
supported at the plenum, argues that, since Nepal's feudal class
is supported by India, the party's principal contradiction was
with both India and "domestic reactionaries". Bhattarai argued
that India could not be the main enemy until it militarily invaded Nepal, and that the principal contradiction was with
"remnants of feudalism, domestic reactionaries, comprador
bourgeoisie and brokers who receive Indian protection".
Prashant Jha, "Maoists inNepal: The Differences Within", The
Hindu, 6 December 2010.
41 Prashant Jha, "Maoists inNepal: The Differences Within", op. cit.
42 Plenum papers, Dr Baburam Bhattarai, "Partiko rajnitik ra
sangathanatmak karyadisha ra tatkalin karyayojanabare", 25
August 2010; Dr Baburam Bhattarai, "Antar parti bahasbare
kehi thap spashtikaran", 20 September 2010; Mohan Baidya
"Kiran","Vartaman paristhiti ra hamro karyabhar", 25 August
2010; Mohan Baidya "Kiran", "Kendriya samitiko baithakma
prastut prastavbare spashtikaran", 21 September 2010; Pushpa
Kamal Dahal "Prachanda", "Karyadisha ra karyayojanabare
prastav", undated. Crisis Group interviews, journalists,
UCPN(M) leaders, Kathmandu, January-February 2011.
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Kiran says, rightly, that chances of that happening are
increasingly slim.43
□ Kiran and Bhattarai accuse Prachanda of talking the
revolutionary talk, but two-facedly making deals and
compromises. Prachanda was also widely criticised, even
by his own staunch supporters in the PLA, for having
megalomaniacal tendencies.44 Prachanda and Bhattarai
harbour deep personal antagonism for each other and
trade allegations of self-aggrandisement, nepotism and
corruption. Bhattarai thinks Prachanda goes too far to
appease hardliners, who are already emboldened by
the slowness and compromises in the peace process.
Bhattarai, accused of being a revisionist, despairs of
any of his colleagues being as rigorous as he is.
Some policy decisions, such as the confrontational attitude
towards India and reaching out to China, were a direct
result of certain ideological debates and positions. But it
would be a mistake to expect all internal debates to lead to
corresponding action, specifically with regard to Maoist
rhetoric about revolt. Confrontation has limited appeal at
this point for them.45 The party remains capable of mass
mobilisation and "people's revolt", though explained in
private as street movements or protests, has the potential for
targeted escalation and retaliation.46 But there are many
reasons for the bulk ofthe party not to choose this course
of action. The balance of power in Kathmandu has temporarily shifted in their favour, but the Maoists' internal
dynamics make it difficult to reach a coherent stand. The
traditional parties and parts of the state apparatus will
strongly resist any show of strength, with the unconditional support of New Delhi.
The UCPN(M) has a strong grassroots organisation. It also
understands well, from both theoretical and political standpoints, the power and legitimacy conferred by a positive
election result and the salutary effect on revolutionary
movements of multiparty competition.47 Its ambitious, if
controversial agenda has staying power even in the face of
widespread corruption within the party, as long as the
Maoists share their part of the pie with more and more
diverse groups.48
The transformation of the UCPN(M) is challenged both
from within and outside. It has compromised on the constitution and inevitably, the party and its leaders are enmeshed in traditional structures of patronage, competition
for resources and a wide range of economic activity.
These are also the cause of some ideological and person-
Prashant Jha describes the Maoists' preferred system of a
"People's Federal Republic" as featuring "an executive Presidency at the centre; federalism with ethnicity/nationality as a
prominent basis; an 'equal' relationship with India; 'democrati-
sation' of the Nepal Army through the integration of former
PLA combatants and firmer civilian control; 'first rights' to local communities regarding natural resources; revolutionary land
reform; and restricted multiparty political competition in which
'pro-imperialist and pro-feudal' parties would not be allowed to
operate". Prashant Jha, "Maoists in Nepal: The Differences
Within", op. cit. The party is already compromising on the executive presidency; ethnic/nationality-based federalism and
first rights or agradhikar will be a hard sell; the previous government's plan for democratisation is noticeably inadequate,
and this government could redraft and implement it; restricting
multiparty competition will invite a confrontation and backlash
from the NA, India and the rest ofthe international community.
44Prachanda's critics argue that the Chunbang Plenum centralised excessive powers in the chairman, who has since used
them for personal benefit and to override those who disagree
with him. Representatives ofthe 1,200 PLA members who attended the plenum accused Prachanda and the rest ofthe party
leadership of playing with the futures ofthe combatants while
they lived luxuriously in Kathmandu. Crisis Group interviews,
Kathmandu, January-February 2011.
45 The traditional parties and some sections of New Delhi believed that the tactic of isolating the Maoists was a relatively
safe one, because they judged, just as Nepal's right does, that
the Maoists will not go back to war.
46 During cadre training sessions earlier this year, Prachanda
floated the idea of mobilising 500,000 for a "people's revolt".
This was followed soon after by C.P. Gajurel claiming that the
Maoists needed to create a new force, as the YCL was no
longer effective, a claim many Nepalis will find incredible.
"Maoists to form tougher youth wing", The Kathmandu Post,
25 February 2011. In February, the central committee decided
to form the "People's Volunteers' Mobilisation Bureau" at the
behest of the Kiran faction. It is headed by his supporter and
standing committee member Netra Bikram Chand "Biplov".
Officially, the bureau will push for the constitution and prepare
for "revolt" if it is not written. It will require unprecedented
sophistry for the UCPN(M) to explain aggressive street protests
even as it is a partner in government. Leaders also say that the
bureau will focus on "manufacturing, production and reconstruction" and will be responsible for overall coordination and
planning for various Maoist-affiliated bodies. This provides a
better clue for the motivations behind the bureau, namely consolidating control over party organisations which are all deeply
divided. Leaders ofthe YCL, student and other unions, as well
as Prachanda and Bhattarai loyalists, have expressed reservations about the bureau. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu,
March 2011.
47 "Present Situation and Our Historical Task", adopted by the
Central Committee meeting ofthe Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist), June 2003. See also Aditya Adhikari, "The Ideological Evolution ofthe Nepali Maoists", Studies inNepali History
and Society, 15(2), December 2010 (forthcoming).
48 Political legitimacy is not determined exclusively or even
primarily by service delivery in Nepal. See Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Political Rites of Passage, op. cit. But a party that
enables increased access and availability to goods and services,
greater participation in networks of patronage and distribution,
and improved political stability will still have an edge in terms
of mobilisation over a party that does not.
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Page 11
ality-driven schisms within the party.49 Traditional political actors as well as new political groupings could step
into the space opened up by a seeming de-radicalisation
ofthe UCPN(M). Identity-based parties have already disaggregated parts ofthe Maoist agenda. The Maoists' ultra-
nationalist stance further risks alienating the Madhesi parties,
who identify it with traditional hill-centric definitions that
question Madhesi loyalties. Ifthe Maoists use nationalist
rhetoric to reach out to the royalist right, even sections ofthe
UCPN(M) will be critical.50 New Delhi remains deeply
suspicious ofthe Maoists' willingness to secure India's
strategic and security interests and be junior partners in the
India-Nepal relationship.
By participating in mainstream politics, the Maoists are
part of a system that is deeply resistant to reform. But they
are still the only party that challenges the Nepali state as
it is now. Ifthe Maoists still want to change elements ofthe
system, even while they themselves are changed by it,51
they will have to gain trust, offer partners tangible returns
and build lasting alliances. This will be difficult, as long
as they retain the ability to intimidate and keep the option
of returning to violence on the table.
B. Nepali Congress
Maligned as the late Nepali Congress leader G.P. Koirala
was for his ambition, high-handedness, corruption and
nepotism, his death left the NC with no national leader
capable of taking the reins ofthe peace process. Instead,
the NC's political arsenal seems limited to obstruction.
The party continues to position itself as the last holdout
standing for democracy against the threats of Maoist entrenchment and left-wing polarisation, but is itself torn by
The business interests ofthe Maoist party, individual leaders
and their relatives serve multiple purposes, and involve party
structures. Some are central-level investments, such as the
Janamaitri Hospital in Kathmandu. Others are managed by the
unions, and include a number of revenue streams, such as sharing of profits from the casinos in Kathmandu and targeted extortion of businesses. The YCL, which is being challenged by
the new "people's volunteers", was after the war at the frontline
of Maoist economic activity, involved in extortion and various
industries including herb collection and processing, and trades
such as timber. The YCL is still organised along economic
lines; in 2008 the organisation was restructured to form separate production and construction units. These are still active and
headed by YCL district or area in-charges. Some of these activities support the party organisation, and others expand the
influence of individuals or factions within the party. Other activities, such as the large land dealings some senior Maoist
leaders and their family members reportedly participate in, are
for personal gain. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-
February 2011.
50 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2011.
51 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2011.
factional politics. Potential alliances with the Maoists and
resistance to them are used by NC members against each
The NC has demanded progressively more ofthe UCPN(M),
shifting goalposts to bolster its own fluctuating political
influence. The influence of its conservative wing, which is
deeply suspicious of the Maoists and resentful of its own
loss of power, has much of the top leadership taking a
hard anti-Maoist line. But the success of this position relies on the support of fair-weather friends and the continuation of a hard anti-Maoist line in New Delhi and in
last resort, the Nepal Army, both of which could erode
democratic space. The NC has made limited attempts to
shore up its support base and provided little input to major
debates, and the party's overall influence in the peace
process has waned. But that makes little difference to its
ability to obstruct, reject, spoil and delay.52
One critical challenge the NC faced in adjusting to the new
political reality was its own structure, with G.P. Koirala
making all the decisions in an ad hoc manner. The party
took its first steps towards internal democratisation in
September 2010, when its general convention for the first
time elected a president. On the face of it, the new central
working committee, which included quotas for nominees
from traditionally marginalised groups, and younger
"second generation" leaders, is more inclusive than any in
the party's history. In reality, the struggle over key positions
and control of the central working committee reflects
schisms among top leaders, particularly between Sushil
Koirala (and his candidate for prime minister, Ram Chandra
Poudel) and Sher Bahadur Deuba. To a lesser extent there
is a division between those who endorse the peace process,
flawed though it might be, and those who think it was a
mistake, which sometimes overlaps with the factions ofthe
top leaders.53
The NC has, for example, proposed six states in contrast to
the Maoists' fourteen, but has done little outreach with this
idea, focusing instead on its opposition to ethnic-based federalism.
For more on the NC's proposal for federalism see Crisis Group
Report, Nepal: Identity Politics and Federalism, op. cit, p. 12.
53 The party' s twelfth general convention was the first since the
NC re-united in 2007 following the split ofthe NC-Democratic
led by Deuba in 2002. Over 3,000 delegates attended to elect
the 85-member central working committee. 21 places were reserved for nominees from marginalised groups, indicating the
party's acknowledgment ofthe need to recognise these constituencies. Yet, in the federalism debate, the NC opposes quotas. The nomination, rather than election, of individuals to these
positions also suggests a paternalistic attitude to minority representation. The so-called "hardline-moderate/peace process supporter" divide, too, is more complicated than this nomenclature
allows. For example, a number of leaders in the Deuba faction
are royalist and right-wing activists, such as Khum Bahadur
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The ongoing dispute over appointments to top party offices and the Deuba-Poudel rivalry meant that the NC
could not contest the prime ministerial elections with a full
deck. The party has not led a single post-election government and has shied away from a consensus government
even if it were to lead it, in order to tamp down internal
disputes.54 In many cases, the NC's district-level leadership
remains shut out of Kathmandu politics, disconnected
from the inter-party negotiations and from its own leadership, which often neglects to send instructions.55
The NC could coast for some time on its liberal democratic
image and play the role ofthe "democratic opposition" to
the Maoists without incurring a huge further loss of popular support and influence in Kathmandu politics; there are
constituencies that will not vote for a leftist party and for
whom identity-based politics has limited benefits. But
without an imaginative re-invention, systematic reactivation
of its networks, and re-commitment to politics outside
Kathmandu, particularly in the Tarai, where it will have to
make deals with Madhesi parties, the NC faces a future of
shrinking influence and relevance as new parties emerge.56
these often fall along the same lines as personal rivalries,
which is how the UML came to lead in succession a strongly
anti-Maoist government and a government backed by the
Maoists. The stark divisions within were clear in the party' s
near-split during the May 2010 CA extension vote, the
controversy over party Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal's
candidacy to replace Madhav Kumar Nepal and his closeness to the Maoists, and the challenges Khanal's own party
has posed to the full formation of his cabinet.58 But those
within the UML are loath to precipitate a split in the
party; being the third largest party is a good bargaining position, to split in two would make each faction smaller than
Madhesi groupings, with a concomitant loss in influence.
Political equations at the centre are not replicated exactly
at the grassroots, and in the districts the UML still maintains presence and influence and sometimes comes directly
into confrontation with the UCPN(M) and the NC.59 Yet, the
UML, its radical agenda lost along the way and displaced by
the Maoists from its perch at the top of Nepal's left, will
need to do more than rely on its established networks if it
C.  (UML)
The UML has maintained a decisive role in power-sharing
not despite but because it is divided on ideology and strategy. There are differences on how to deal with the Maoists
and with India, on state restructuring, for example,57 and
Khadka, while others are seen as conservative, but still engaged
with the peace process, including "second-generation" leaders
such as Mnendra Rijal. Whenhe was prime minister inNovember
2001, Deuba recommended that King Gyanendra dissolve parliament and impose a state of emergency when the Maoists
broke a four-month-old ceasefire. Yet Deuba himself is widely
described, including by senior Maoists, as more "flexible" and
open to arrangements with the UCPN(M) than Sushil Koirala.
Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-February 2011.
54 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-February 2011.
55NC district leaders had expected directives from the central
leadership for Democracy Day activities on 19 February 2011
in the 75 districts. The party had earlier announced that it was
sending its central committee and CA members to every district
to mark the occasion. ("Kangresle deshbhar Prajatantra Divas
manaune",, 9 February 2011.) But the day
passed without much clarity about where the party is headed at
the district-level. While some district party offices were told to
prepare for the possibility of fresh elections for a new CA ifthe
current one fails to deliver a constitution on 28 May, others
claimed that there was no such central directive and that the
party would continue raising awareness about the need to complete
the constitution. Crisis Group telephone interviews, March 2011.
56 "Kangresko krantikarita", CK Lai, Himal Khabarpatrika, 15-
30 March 2011.
57For example, the UML members ofthe CA's state restructuring sub-committee voted for the Maoist proposal, which al
lowed it to be passed by a majority, even though the UML
leadership is ambivalent about identity-based federalism. See
Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity Politics and Federalism,
op. cit,pp. 10-12. Similarly, leftist Nepali nationalism has historically often been defined in opposition to India, but the
Madhav Nepal government and K.P. Oli faction that supported
it was closer to India than to its own coalition partners.
58 Khanal has the majority in the parliamentary party, which allowed him to successfully leverage the threat of a split to extend the CA and force Madhav Nepal to resign as prime minister in May 2010. The UML's decision-making bodies - the
central committee, politburo and standing committee - are
evenly split between Khanal and the Madhav Nepal-K.P. Oli
group, but tilting in Khanal's favour. After criticising the
seven-point deal with the Maoists, the central committee passed
it with a small amendment. For an overview ofthe UML's internal dynamics, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Faltering
Peace Process, op. cit.
59 In January 2011, the UML central secretariat issued a three-
month organisation strengthening plan to attract more cadres
from working class backgrounds to the party base, and highlighted the need to appeal to cadres from other parties. The
directive bemoans factionalism, the party's shift away from the
working class towards the upper class and its inability to financially support its cadres but does not offer any concrete solutions. "Baicharik tatha sangathan sudhridhikaran abhiyan",
CPN(UML) Central Secretariat, Kathmandu, February 2011.
Application ofthe directives on the ground varies depending on
the UML's presence and influence. In some districts the UML
has been holding awareness campaigns about the constitution-
writing process and "why it is being delayed"; in others increasing its membership by targeting defectors from other parties, particularly the UCPN(M); in still other areas, conventions
are being organised for the first time in a decade, and the local
leadership is planning for the next election. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu and telephone interviews, Februaiy-March 2011.
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Page 13
wants to set the agenda. It cannot just react to national politics and count on the uncertain rewards of opportunism.60
D. Madhesi Parties
Madhesi parties could mount the most systematic pressure on the government to either deliver a constitution or
dissolve the CA. Supported by New Delhi, most of them
are now calling for dissolution.61 But this position is rife
with contradictions. The constitution and federalism remain
Madhesi demands and most of these parties also oppose
the state restructuring commission. The CA is thus their
only option. Their current position could be tactical, to
push for a change of government near 28 May or to gain
concessions on state restructuring. Disruption, particularly
in the form of highway shutdowns aimed at Kathmandu,
requires modest human and other resources and is a
handy tool, even if there is a limited appetite for mass
mobilisation or the price for the Madhes is deemed too high.
More serious interventions, such as violent protests, could
be a game-changer, particularly if anonymous violence
against civilians continues simultaneously.
There have been splits and threatened splits in every
Madhesi party, but these are usually more about individual
disagreement and re-alignments in patronage networks
rather than differences of opinion on political aims and
strategies. A split in the MJF(N) is periodically threatened,
and if this happens while the party is in government, it
would weaken the coalition.
Madhesi parties often act and are treated as a bloc, and
their role at the centre determined by the need to make up
the numbers, rather than substantive alliances. There have
A stark reminder was the 38th anniversary in March 2011 of
the Jhapa uprising, Nepal's first violent communist action and a
cornerstone ofthe UML's narrative. The UML memorial program in the morning drew a scant couple of hundred people.
The Maoist program later in the day was attended by approximately 10,000. "Maoists eyeing UML revolutionaries", The
Himalayan Times, 10 March 2011.
61 Bijay Gachhedar of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik),
MJF(L); Rajendra Mahato of Sadbhavana Party (SP); and Ma-
hanta Thakur of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP)
together visited New Delhi in mid-March 2011 and had a series
of high-level meetings. They returned to Kathmandu threatening to launch a movement and calling for dissolution ofthe CA.
MJF(L) is the largest Madhesi party with 28 seats and Gachhedar was deputy prime minister under PM Nepal. The SP and
TMLP are both small and have suffered splits, but Thakur, who
had a distinguished career in the NC before forming his own
party in 2007, is sometimes seen as more than a Madhesi leader
and was suggested as a compromise prime minister in a potential alliance between the UCPN(M) and Madhesi parties. For
more on the Madhesi parties, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal's
Election: A Peaceful Revolution?, op. cit.
been tactical revivals ofthe United Democratic Madhesi
Front (UDMF), supported by New Delhi, as a means of
collective bargaining for ministerial portfolios and, often
secondarily, the Madhesi agenda and a new constitution,
in exchange for support to this government and the last.
Upendra Yadav's MJF(N) often breaks ranks; it joined
the present government and urged the UDMF to vote for
Prachanda last year. The demand for a single autonomous
Madhesi state is understood to be tactical and often appears
half-hearted.63 Like the Maoists, the Madhesi parties are
representatives of a broader social movement, in addition to
being political parties; they will continue to play the politics
of numbers in Kathmandu while reserving the threat of
agitation outside.
The Madhesi parties face a number of challenges. Political
dynamics in the Tarai have changed, but the elite actors
have largely not, nor has their extractive attitude to Kathmandu politics. The parties' conspicuous self-interest
does them no favours at a time when manufacturing and
agriculture are barely limping along. As quickly as these
parties were formed and gained support, so could their
support base shrink for these and other reasons, including
new political contenders.64 Ifthe Tharu movement mobilises
62 The UDMF comprises the MJF(N), MJF(L), SP and TMLP.
The split in the MJF and Upendra Yadav's willingness to work
with the Maoists does not preclude attempts by the coalition to
work together. In July 2010, all four parties presented to both
the UCPN(M) and NC a concept paper outlining their three priorities: the peace process, constitution-drafting and Madhesi
issues. The paper demanded implementation of the 2008 22-
point and August 2007 eight-point agreements; guarantees of
an autonomous Madhes province; steps to ensure reservation of
Madhesis in state organs; keeping decision-making in the CA
rather than handing it over to a state restructuring commission;
making the NA inclusive, including through bulk recruitment
of Madhesis. The Maoists were also asked to sever ties with
combatants and complete integration and rehabilitation in four
months, and disband the YCL. The NC responded by stating
that the demands for group entry into the NA, a single autonomous Madhes province and revoking ofthe decision to form
a state restructuring commission were "vague and require [d]
clarity". The Maoists responded unequivocally that they did not
support the "one Madhes-one province" demand and the application of standard NA norms for integration and rehabilitation
of Maoist combatants, and, infamously, that they did not accept
"pluralism" as a philosophy in the new constitution.
63 In later negotiations on government formation in 2010, the
UDMF took the single Madhesi state off the table, but while
Bijay Gachhedar's MJF(L) explicitly renounced the demand,
other parties have not. In private all acknowledge that other
groups living in the Tarai will need to be accommodated and
that it will be difficult to avoid being connected to the north.
Crisis Group interviews, March 2011.
64 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, February-March 2011.
One political analyst explained: "Dignity alone is no longer
enough and caste politics has a limited life-span; Madhesis look
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Page 14
again, the Madhesi parties would have to be accommodated. In Kathmandu, the parties, acting singly or in concert, will have to decide how best to leverage their
strength for long-term gains. Other than the MJF(N),
which appears to tolerate being left out in the cold occasionally, the Madhesi parties will need to balance their reliance on New Delhi, the utility oftheir support for a "democratic" alliance led by the NC (or UML, if it is in the
mood), and the staying power and more supportive political agenda ofthe UCPN(M).65
E. Other Ethnic Parties and Movements
The most significant ethnic organisations do not expect
the CA to meet their demands for ethnic federalism and
say they will wait for the 28 May deadline to begin mobilising. The organisational landscape remains fragmented.
The Federal Democratic National Party (FDNP), itself an
offshoot of the Federal Democratic National Forum
(FDNF), has lost its most influential Tharu representative,
Laxman Tharu, who parted way to focus on building his
base in the western Tarai.66 This is a loss for ethnic activists
who have been trying to form a broaderjanajati [indigeneous
nationalities] front.
However, leaders of various Limbu, Khambu and Tamang
groups remain in contact to discuss consolidation oftheir
networks and future strategies. These informal networks
include activists from FDNF and FDNP, who advocate
peaceful agitation, but also members of militant groups
such as the Kirat Janabadi Workers Party (KJWP).67 Scattered and declared defunct after a series of arrests in
2010, the KJWP has shown signs of regrouping; in March
2011 it burned a village development committee office in
Udaypur.68 In the eastern hills, at least, if janajati networks
decide a protest movement is necessary to push for their
vision of federal restructuring, the conditions are ripe and
there would be significant public support. Much will depend
on the state's response, the tools activists use, and the
compromises individual leaders may be willing to make.
across the border at a resurgent Bihar and also want economic
65 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, February-March 2011.
See also Tulanarayan Saha, "Madhesi morchako gulami prabriti",
Kantipur, 22 March 2011.
66 For an overview ofthe most important ethnic parties, FDNF
and FDNP, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity Politics and
Federalism, op. cit, pp. 13-14.
67 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity Politics and Federalism,
op. cit, p. 16. Crisis Group interview, FDNP leader, Kathmandu, January 2011.
68 "Workersdvara sahakarima agajani", Nepal Samacharpatra,
3 March 2011.
There is more acknowledgement among these constituencies than within the NC or UML ofthe staying power of
the UCPN(M) and oftheir own poor organisation.69 Many
traditionally royalist actors are now conservatives who
accept that a return ofthe monarchy will be difficult and
possibly even undesirable. They see Maoist entrenchment
taking place through the new constitution and expect the
UCPN(M) to secure a majority in the next general election, which will allow it to consolidate its control over the
organs ofthe state. Since these gains will be, broadly speaking, legitimately won, the only counter the right wing sees
to the Maoists now is through a broad "democratic alliance".
That seems like wishful thinking for parties whose structures
in the districts are languishing and who look to the NC
for leadership.
The far right continues to argue for Hindutva, or Hindu
nationalism, restoration and preservation ofthe traditional
privilege ofthe monarchy, dissolution ofthe CA, and a
referendum on basic peace process commitments including federalism, secularism and republicanism. In its reading,
Maoist totalitarian ambitions will be countered with an
"authoritarian regime that will come into power disguised
as a democratic front".70 Radical Hindu groups remain
marginal, but are gradually increasing their organisational
capacity. With minority groups asserting themselves and
largely ineffectual political counterbalances to Maoist
dominance, the royalist and Hindu right could see the conditions for retaliation falling into place.71
For instance, the re-unification of the Rashtriya Janashakti
Party and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party announced on 6 February
2010, has not yet been formalised at the Election Commission.
"RPP, RJP unite after five years",, 6 February 2010.
70 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, February 2010.
71 See also Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity Politics and
Federalism, op. cit. The Nepal Defence Army (NDA), for example, remains more or less a one-man show, despite the arrests in March 2011 of some members in possession of explosives. The NDA's leader is in prison in Kathmandu for the
2009 bombing of the capital's oldest mainstream church in
which three people died. But the members arrested recently told
police that their aim was extortion and to create general instability. "Rajdhanima difens armika hartakarta pakrau", Annapurna Post, 5 March 2011. There are legitimate groups that
are not promoting violence yet, like the Hindu Swayamsewak
Sangh, whose head says that "[a] s long as Nepal is a Hindu majority state, there is no danger to religious minorities. What we
don't want them to do is convert". Amish Raj Mulmi and
Pranab Kharel, "A saffron wave", The Kathmandu Post, 5
March 2011. Conservative Hindus are anxious about secularism
not only because ofthe Maoists and the overturning ofthe old
order, but also because ofthe visible proliferation of churches
and foreign evangelical Christian groups. The next census,
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India's position on the Maoists faces major challenges.
The current government makes many in New Delhi deeply
uncomfortable about what they call "left entrenchment"
and includes the MJF(N) led by Upendra Yadav, India's
least favourite Madhesi politician. The prospect of this
alliance achieving some success, such as promulgating
large parts of the constitution and securing an extension
ofthe CA if needed, is difficult for parts ofthe Indian establishment to swallow. But it is nevertheless time for
New Delhi to evaluate the costs of its overt microman-
agement of Nepali politics: the strengthening of ultra-
nationalist anti-Indian positions among the Maoists and
the extreme right, as well as the opening up of space for
day-to-day Chinese influence. New Delhi has also assumed
that Beijing's influence inNepal is increasing, particularly
because ofthe Maoists, and that this poses a threat to India.
This is sometimes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the isolated
Maoists would understandably seek support where it could.
The Maoists are not the only actors who court China either.72
If New Delhi follows its line of keeping the Maoists out
by any means to its logical conclusion, that would mean
dissolution ofthe CA, and possibly a period of presidential
rule before elections.73 Myriad factors would need to come
together for this to transpire, including splits in some of
the ruling parties and various actors dropping the demand
for a new constitution. If political actors in Nepal adopted
this approach to leverage concessions from the UCPN(M),
they would need to believe they could control the outcome.
For example, it looks unlikely that in the general election
that will follow, the Maoists will fare too poorly.
In New Delhi, this position is now being framed not so
much in terms ofthe Maoists ignoring India's strategic
interests or challenging the traditional relationship between
India and Nepal by courting Beijing, but pose a serious
threat to Nepal's hard-won democracy. In this account,
India, although willing to work with anyone in power in
Kathmandu, no matter how unpleasant, will do everything
it can to help defend democracy.74
The UML-Maoist-MJF(N) alliance is a timely reminder
for India (and China and other international actors) that
its influence is variable and depends on Nepali actors,
however hegemonic the relationship between the two
countries may be.75 India is now on the Security Council,
and Nepal is still on the Security Council agenda. Despite its
diplomats' claims that India can take care of its "rough
neighbourhood"76, New Delhi's narrative of its dealings
with Nepal could be challenged.77 Beyond that, India
scheduled to start in June 2011, is likely to show a decline in
the number of Nepalis who identify as Hindu and, although
some will switch to another identification such as Buddhist or
animist, the number of Christians is likely to increase. Evangelical
missions say that Dalits are no longer the primary targets for
conversion; these days, poor Buddhists are equally attractive.
Crisis Group interviews, October 2010 and February 2011.
72 Crisis Group interviews, New Delhi, Kathmandu, February,
March 2011. See also Prashant Jha, "Re-engagement", Nepali
Times, 11-18 March 2011. When King Gyanendra took over in
2005, he agreed to close down the Kathmandu office ofthe Tibetan government-in-exile. Every government since then has
allowed Chinese security forces to tighten border controls - occasionally deporting Tibetan travellers and refugees caught
crossing illegally despite a decades-old Nepali policy of allowing them safe passage - in return for pledges of increased aid
and soft loans. In March 2011, for the first time ever, the Chief
of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
(PLA) visited Nepal. During the visit, which must have given
New Delhi the vapours, General Chen Bingde pledged over $ 17
million directly to the Nepal Army from the PLA. Traditionally, annual Chinese military assistance to Nepal has ranged
from $ 1 million to $ 13 million. Indian aid still prevails, though;
in December 2009, when Chief of Army Staff General Chha-
traman Singh Gurung visited India, he was promised nearly $55
million. Saroj Raj Adhikari, "Sainya sahayogko hodbaji",Kantipur, 26 March 2011. See also Pradip PM Malla, "China's
Emphasis on Pancha Sheel", People 's Review, 31 March-8
April 2011 for justification of the Nepal Army's openness to
China and its PLA.
Crisis Group interviews, New Delhi, Kathmandu, February,
March 2011.
74 This dovetails with the rhetoric of many Nepali actors - the
NC, Madhesi parties other than MJF(N), royalists, the Nepal
Army - who disagree with each other, but who all feel threatened
by the Maoists as well as by the prospect of reform and diversified
political space.
75Moreover, New Delhi's clients in specific parties and state
institutions aside, it is not only communist and right wing
Nepali nationalism which is defined in opposition to India.
There is also the state-sponsored understanding of nationalism
dating to King Mahendra's reign in the 1960s, and reactions to
overt Indian involvement in Nepal's politics.
76 This is cited not only as a general claim but also with specific
reference to Nepal's Maoists. Crisis Group interview, New
Delhi, February 2011.
77New Delhi's efforts to oust UNMIN and, by extension, its
backing for challenges mounted to the CPA and AMMAA
won international support because of the dubious notion that
UNMIN was hindering progress on the peace process by protecting the Maoists and maintaining the status quo. The stagnation in the peace process was more due to the largest party being kept out of government, than because a small political UN
mission and its handful of unarmed monitors were singlehand-
edly propping up the Maoists. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu and New Delhi, January-February 2011.
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needs to update its position or risk an attrition of its historical influence in Nepal.78
For the rest ofthe international community, it is best to
allow Nepali actors to set the development and political
agenda; to respond to the clear commitment to reform of
institutions in the CPA; and to remember that Nepal's peace
process is about more than just integration and the announcement of a new constitution.79 Donors must review
their own methods of operating and analysis to see
whether continuing business as usual makes sense. This
includes making realistic matches between what government agencies can spend and what donors would like to
give, and refraining from proposing vague conditionalities
that will not be followed through.80
There has been limited implementation of the CPA and
related agreements, and the Nepali state has entered into 24
agreements with specific groupings, ranging from organisations of landless people to representatives of major ethnic
groups, to armed groups.81 Many of these commitments will
be addressed by the new constitution and state restructuring,
For example, the first senior Nepali leader to visit New Delhi
and have high-level meetings after Khanal was elected prime
minister was Surya Bahadur Thapa, leader ofthe small Rastriya
Janashakti Party. Although a veteran democratic leader formerly ofthe royalist persuasion, Thapa no longer has the influence within Nepal to create a democratic alliance.
79 The "Peace and Development Strategy" issued in January
2011, four years after the signing ofthe CPA, by major donors
including the UN and EU, does take the CPA as its basis and
acknowledges the need for greater transparency in donor spending. Mukul Humagain, "Donors unveil new development strategy", The Kathmandu Post, 13 January 2011. It took over a
year to draft amid such differences of opinion that at least one
major development partner withdrew from the process. Crisis
Group interview, Kathmandu, February 2011.
80 Ministries routinely report not having the capacity to spend
their annual budgets. InNovember 2010, maj or multilateral and
bilateral donors issued a letter to the government of Nepal, stating that the slow pace of the peace process, the political deadlock and lack of leadership were making it difficult to justify
mobilising resources for Nepal. "Donor concerns", Nepali
Times, 24 November 2010. In March 2011, the UK Department
for International Development (DFID) announced that it would
increase aid to Nepal from £57 million ($91 million) in 2010/11
to £103 million ($165 million) by 2014/15. Also in March
2011, USAID announced a new $30-million Nepal Economic
Agriculture and Aid Program.
81 This does not include the more than half-dozen bilateral and
multilateral agreements reached between the political parties
since the CPA and arms and armies agreements were signed.
but overall momentum for wide-ranging institutional reform
has faltered. There has been limited, if any, implementation
of laws already passed on inclusion. Governance, the
most immediate peace dividend, does not inspire confidence. Widespread political and bureaucratic corruption
remains the norm, the economy is limping along and the
infrastructure crumbling. No deep reform on these fronts
can be expected soon, but they must at least be put back
on the agenda. Tangible progress on security sector reform
can and should be a priority.
The Nepal Army resists any impetus to reform. Since 2006,
control ofthe Nepal Army has been transferred from the
king to the president, but little else has changed. NA loyalists argue that the institution should not be "politicised",
that it is unfairly persecuted when it is in fact the most
cohesive, responsible, nationalist, united and representative body in Nepal, and that to criticise it or push for reform
is an anti-national impulse.82
Yet, in the lastyear alone, the chief of army staff lobbied for
the exit of UNMIN in August 2010 at the urging of politicians (who were quick to deny any role); relations between
him and the former defence minister have deteriorated
sharply; a group of officers bypassed the chain of command
to complain about promotions directly to the prime minister;
in Kathmandu and New Delhi lobbying is already underway
regarding who will be the successor to the present chief;
and discontent within the military is privately acknowledged to fall along patronage and identity-group lines.83
Some of this politicking undoubtedly stems from political
leaders playing favourites and relying on individuals within
the army in an attempt to gain institutional support.84 But
See for example, Trailokya Raj Aryal, "Challenges ahead for
Nepal Army", Republica, 2 March 2011.
83 CoAS Gurung is hardly the first to use politics to get ahead,
as some senior retired NA officers admit in private. Crisis
Group interviews, Kathmandu, January-February 2011. On the
disagreements between the defence minister and army chief,
see for example, Bikash KC, "Defence Minister sits on CoAS'
reshuffle bid", Republica, 9 January 2011. On discontent and
ethnic tensions, see "Byarekbhitra sainik bidroha", Jana Aastha,
30 March 2011; and Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Political Rites of
Passage, op. cit, fn 287.
84 In September 2009, Defence Minister Bidhya Bhandari publicly went to bat for the NA, arguing for recruitment for existing positions (in contravention of a Supreme Court stay order)
and saying that the CPA and AMMAA needed to be amended
to allow for resumption of arms and ammunition procurement.
So vocal was the minister that her own party and cabinet colleagues felt the need to distance themselves, and in January
2010, the cabinet said that her views were not official. The personal and factional nature of the loyalty between the NA and
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Page 17
together, it gives lie to the conceit that the NA is, in comparison to mere politicians, a pure world unto itself; there
is factionalism, criticism from its own, political lobbying
and lack of transparency aplenty.85
The need for financial transparency is a sensitive aspect of
NA reform. There have been some attempts to make the
Army Welfare Fund (AWF) more transparent. But in
January 2011, the auditor-general's office, which has oversight ofthe fund, said that it was not transparent and did not
follow Army Welfare Regulations.86 Procurement and
accounting for peacekeeping earnings and spending are
not subject to rigorous oversight from outside the NA, not
least because the defence ministry is very weak.87
The last government's Comprehensive Work Plan for De-
mocratisation ofthe Nepal Army should not be taken as a
portent of changes to come, quite apart from the fact that it
Madhav Nepal's government, and the resistance to civilian control ofthe NA became apparent later in 2010, when Minister
Bhandari and Chief of Army Staff Chhatraman Singh Gurung
have locked horns since late 2010 over promotions and transfers of senior officers as well as over Gurung's proposal to reorganise the divisional responsibility of five two-star generals.
"NA defers transfer of brass",, 14 November
2010; "Defence minister sits on CoAS' reshuffle bid", Republica,
9 January 2011.
85 On favouritism and politicking within the NA, see for example, "Uparathi Gaurav Shumsher Ranalai khula patra", Sanghu,
21 March 2011. On the NA's questionable priorities during the
conflict, see Ranadhoj Limbu, "Lessons of war -1", The Kathmandu Post, 25 February 2009; and Ranadhoj Limbu, "Lessons
of war - II", The Kathmandu Post, 24 February 2009. Brigadiers Limbu and Dilip Rayamajhi resigned from the Nepal
Army in March 2007, saying that the army had become politicised and that the rules for promotion were not being followed.
See "Army politics", Sanghu, 26 March 2007. Some argue that the
Nepal Army is now more, and not less autonomous than it used
to be before the peace process. Dipak Gyawali, "What 'dramatic
political gains', Ms Landgren?!", Spotlight, 25 March 2011.
86Bikash KC, "Irregularities dog NA Welfare Fund", Republica, 19 January 2011. For example, in 2009/2010, the AWF
earned Rs.746.7 million ($10.3 million) and spent Rs. 1.24 billion (approximately $17 million), though it is not allowed to
spend beyond its interest earnings. The fund has about Rs.16
billion (about $215 million) in reserves. "Kalyankari Darpan",
Nepalese Army Welfare Action Plan Directorate, 2010. Its projected earnings from interest payments in the 2010/11 fiscal
year were Rs.930 million (about $12.65 million). "Senako bya-
j ai arab nagyo", Kantipur, 8 August 2010. Recent media reports
citing NA officials claim that the fund has over Rs.480 million
(more than $6.5 million) in failing banks. "NA millions caught
in BFI cleft stick", The Kathmandu Post, 29 January 2011.
87The defence ministry has never been more than a P.O. box,
though in recent years some international assistance has been
offered to strengthen it.
needs to be reviewed by the new government.88 The document, which is neither comprehensive nor a work plan,
might generously be called a strategy document. The NA is
understood to have had input into the drafting of the plan,
and therefore it usefully explains how the institution, and
those who believe its autonomy could provide a bulwark
against the Maoists, see the NA's future .89 It posits democra-
tisation as something that should be done "despite limited
resources". It makes no reference to the various allegations of impunity and arguments for enhanced civilian oversight which underpin the "democratisation" commitment.
It allows parliamentary oversight to be enhanced on logistics and training, but says that details of military strategy and
operations should be kept secret, which contradicts international standards for information sharing and accountability for decision-making in democratically controlled
armed forces. There is no mention of reforming the military
court or ofthe need to determine the relationship with civilian investigating bodies and thejudiciary. It glosses over
the range of areas requiring greater transparency in a single
clause.91 On inclusion, widely acknowledged as a critical
component of NA reform, it says only that entry of historically marginalised groups "shall be ensured by law",
with no recommendations for affirmative action.92
Neither the democratisation plan nor the national security
policy drafted by the same committee addresses the serious and substantive overhaul that the defence ministry
See for example "Govt floats plan to democratise army", The
Himalayan Times online, 6 January 2011; and "Army democratisation plan hits rough weather", The Kathmandu Post, 2
March 2011.
89 Crisis Group interviews, February 2011.
Nepali Senako Lokantrikaranka Lagi Bistrit Karyayojana, 2
August 2010.
91 "Ensuring transparent and an accountable working culture:
based mainly on decentralisation of power, accountability to
the government; clear mandate, role, and responsibilities; income and expenditure of welfare fund; retirement, promotion,
transfer, training, seminar; and on the selection of peacekeeping
forces". "Main Priorities for Action Plan", ibid.
92 Ibid. Elsewhere, the NA has a clear position on inclusion:
"Recruitment is voluntary and competitive. Hence forcing citizens to sign up in the proportion of the demographic break-up
of the nation would violate the rights of the people who may
not want to join the Army and at the same time be unfair to
those qualified and wishing to join". And "[vjarious Madhesi
castes make 14.25 per cent of total population ... whereas only
6.26 per cent are seemingly serving in the army. The cause for
this lesser degree of inclusion seems to be the lack of interest
on the part of Madhesi communities to join military services.
There is, for instance, almost no representation of Madhesis in
the British or Indian Gurkhas". Available at: www.nepalarmy.
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 18
needs.93 The security policy is another uninspiring document. In addition to listing "socio-economic challenges
and threats", which could describe a wide range of civic
and identity movements, it spells out in detail that the NA
can be mobilised in practically any situation including, for
example, "[to prevent] destructive activities".94 It also
does not explain how the optimal, appropriate and affordable size of the NA will be determined, or question the
future of the paramilitary APF, which was formed for
counter-insurgency purposes in 2001 and is now, at 30,000,
twice its original size.95
As complicated as the issue of state restructuring is, urgent decisions need to be made on the implementation of
a broad political settlement on it, and the restoration of
local governance. Although local government has been as
prone to bureaucratic and political corruption as other
structures and mechanisms of the state, the politics and
design ofthe transition has nevertheless been particularly
hard on it. The last election to local bodies was in 1998.96
Local bodies are now nominally headed by civil servants
who have little will or ability to challenge local political
dynamics. This means that the all-party mechanisms they
head are essentially a means for political parties to divide
up the spoils of local government budgets with no accountability. Local elections will at best be another interim
measure until the federal structure ofthe state is decided
The committee comprised Defence Minister Bidhya Devi
Bhandari; Home Minister Bhim Rawal; Law and Justice Minister Prem Bahadur Singh; Federal and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister and Minister for Culture Minendra Rijal; Minister
Without Portfolio Laxman Lai Kama; and the defence and
chief secretaries.
94 The "socio-economic challenges and threats" include increasing conflict among communities and evaporating social harmony; economic inequality; ethnic [identification] and regionalism; distribution and utilisation of natural resources; and religious radicalism. The NA can be mobilised in situations where
the police fail to maintain internal security; to prevent destructive activities; stop activities that are against national interests;
prevent terrorist activities; and "put out resistance". Rastriya
Surakshya Niti 2067.
95 "Armed Police Day special publication", Armed Police Force
Headquarters, 3 November 2010, p. 95.
96 King Gyanendra did hold local elections in February 2005,
but most political parties boycotted them. Turnout was under
25 per cent, but given that the vote took place under a military-
backed regime, and that the second multiparty Jana Andolan or
People's Movement to restore democracy began shortly after,
this election was essentially irrelevant. Voter turnout in the
2008 election to the CA was close to 60 per cent.
and the changes rolled out; these polls should ideally be
conducted at the same time as the next general election.97
High-profile procurement scandals and abuse of authority
in the past year further underlined the institutional tolerance, even support, for corruption, and the impunity with
which members of Nepal's political order and bureaucracy
operate.98 The Supreme Court has begun clearing pending
appeals filed against decisions by the special court which
deals with corruption. In the last six months, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA)
has filed or announced its intention of filing charges in
the past six months against heads of state corporations
and the Nepal police, as well as individuals.99 The legitimacy of political actors is not compromised by their participation in these networks of political, bureaucratic and
financial interests and their electoral survival depends
more on their complicity in these networks than in pushing
Aditya Adhikari, "Long wait for local government", Himal
Southasian, October 2010. Bishnu Prasad Aryal, "Monitoring
efforts go down the drain", The Himalayan Times, 30 March
2011. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, March 2011. Crisis
Group 'Report, Nepal's Political Rites of Passage, op. cit.
98These include a Rs.350 million ($4.76 million) procurement
scandal investigated by the Commission for the Investigation of
Abuse of Authority (CIAA), that resulted in faulty armed personnel carriers being sent to Nepali police serving in Sudan,
which led to the threat the units would be repatriated, and implicated former home minister (and peace process negotiator)
Krishna Prasad Sitaula and former police chiefs; a bidding
process for machine readable passports deemed by the Public
Accounts Committee to have been faultily conducted; CA
members allegedly allowing sale, misuse and tampering oftheir
official passports; and the supreme court directing action
against two former CIAA commissioners for abuse of authority. Cash-for-votes too continues to be a feature of Nepal's political machinery. Tapes allegedly leaked by the Indian embassy in Kathmandu during the failed election for a new prime
minister in September 2010, reportedly contained Maoist leader
Krishna Bahadur Mahara in conversation with a "Chinese" person offering cash to buy MPs. In August 2010, a Madhesi CA
member alleged that he had been threatened by an Indian intelligence operative in Kathmandu with the cancellation of his
daughter's admission in an Indian-run school.
99 The CIAA is a constitutional body whose commissioners are
political appointees, but as of March 2010, does not have a
chief commissioner and is headed by a civil servant. In March
2011, the CIAA announced it would file charges against close
to 50 senior police officers including the inspector-general, in
connection with the armoured personnel carrier scam. In September 2010, the CIAA filed a case against UML C A members
for taking a bribe to appoint a police inspector; in October 2010
directed the state-owned Nepal Telecom to scrap contracts for
next generation networks, saying the bidding process had violated the Public Procurement Act of 2007; and in December
2010 against the Nepal Airlines Corporation and its executive
chairman for the allegedly unlawful purchase of two Airbus
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 19
for systemic reform. But any party that addresses, in perhaps
piecemeal but public ways, what is widely recognised as
corruption would certainly gain politically.100
For most of Nepal's political actors, the major elements
ofthe peace process, namely integration and the new constitution, have been reduced to bargaining chips in the
struggle for the immediate benefits of power sharing and
longer-term re-alignments between and within parties. This
is partly due to fatigue from upholding a fictitious notion
of consensus and from managing the contradictions between a normative understanding ofthe peace process as
demanding selfless, moral behaviour, and individual and
party interests.
Having earlier assented to this framework of the peace
process, the polity is now too fragmented and its ambitions
and frustrations too broad and immediate to be contained
by it. The focus on power through the state and its organs,
which is now open to more actors and in more ways than
before, is as much part of the transformative process as
formal and institutional reform. This contestation is inevitable, and rather than just being bemoaned, needs to be contained and dealt with politically. The first steps towards that
are the new constitution, state restructuring and security
sector reform. Disbanding the PLA through integration
and rehabilitation of its members is essential for progress
on any of these fronts.
Sidelined groups have seen they can get Kathmandu's attention by challenging the state through violence. Multiple
stress points remain, including sections ofthe Maoists and
future splinter groups, identity-based groups in the eastern
hills and the Tarai, a potential alliance of radical royalists,
Hindu groups and army loyalists, and efforts to channel
public frustration with the clunky dysfunction in place
towards support of a "strongman".
The parties may be tired of dealing with the formal peace
process, but they are locked into it and are committed to a
new constitution. They ignore this at their own peril, even
apart from the broader, serious risks posed by abandonment
or continued attrition ofthe process. In the short term, the
parties have few incentives to behave other than they have in
the last four years. But now their own splintered constituencies are weakening them and wearing away at their ne
gotiating power. The parties are coming up to what could be
a last chance within this framework to reach a settlement
that will allow them to function again as full political actors, address their own futures, and put into practice the
reforms to which they are committed. Not to do so will
mean prolonged, possibly heightened contestation and leave
the door open to continued threats to Nepal's flawed but
only democracy.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 7 April 2011
For example, the widespread respect for Baburam Bhattarai
is in part due to the perception that he personally is "clean" and
that he was a competent finance minister. For the many ways in
which Nepal's political order as a whole, rather than individual
parties, have "captured the state", see Crisis Group Report, Nepal's
Political Rites of Passage, op. cit.
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 20
AMMAA Agreement on Monitoring ofthe Management of Arms and Armies
APF Armed Police Force
AWF Army Welfare Fund
CA Constituent Assembly
CIAA Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority
CPA Comprehensive Peace Agreement
FDNF Federal Democratic National Forum
FDNP Federal Democratic National Party
INSEC Informal Sector Service Centre
MJF Madhesi Janadhikar Forum
MJF(L) Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik)
MJF(N) Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Nepal)
NA Nepal Army
NC Nepali Congress
NDA Nepal Defence Army
PLA People's Liberation Army
SATP South Asia Terrorism Portal
SP Sadbhavana Party
TMLP Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party
UCPN(M) Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
UDMF United Democratic Madhesi Front
UML Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
UNMIN United Nations Mission in Nepal
YCL Young Communist League
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 21
The boundaries and names shown and tne designations
used on tfiis map do not impfy official endorsement or
f dry tho United Nations.
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jDafcTiuta\   . '""-.
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^Baltadi^        0ct,ainpuc'-i ■
»IAHiUCALI>      sill    DMarladi
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:      FARWEST   >"_  MID-WEST { { ).
-.. ! "s/l""^    n Dailekh * Duinai       <iO    •>—/    „-*.
X , *        'A *        "•  '*J    -,'Jomoaom  '"\
'v_ A ~ Dhan gad Mi HIII-.H1    ^Jajarkol -7—,-■>     j",' i ■■__
•A   A in **J -Jumhkhalanga C   A     ^-~. Y rh__J
•«■       i ®B.rendranagar      °        J„„.„  / oCh*"«
National capital
Regional seal
Zonal seat
District seat
international boundary
Regional boundary
Zonal boundary
Mam road
Secondary road
40     60     BO    100 Km
10    20    M    40    50    60 ml
^Jajarkol        ,  ""f—^-t     J*f
■Q.Jumhkhalanga  ,   -, C   >}*
|nm      pDHAWAUGIRl/
g .Tfl.pur taH?!      •POW-A /' MS\
Taulihawa    Siddha	
'     .PParas
.'■-t:',\\ KST°0amauli f nDnad.ngt)esi
na~   IdHj.jr —I _ —.__ . u.uu.        ;       Qf i.nuin.n _.
'  Bulwal    Bharalpurg'  Kathmandu Q^ Bhaktapur,'0 Charikot'
irlhanarjar „.-.•':». - " Pa,4n        ° Dhulikhel •'
 PParasL/V              Hetauda-   f'l.'rVTIHl               J    o
M.SIII / vl"■"'
Chandragadhi q/
Biratnag-iT '    .-      }
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 22
Central Asia
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 (also available in Russian).
Kyrgyzstan: A Deceptive Calm, Asia
Briefing N°79, 14 August 2008 (also
available in Russian).
Tajikistan: On the Road to Failure, Asia
Report N° 162, 12 February 2009.
Women andRadicalisation in Kyrgyzstan,
Asia Report N° 176, 3 September 2009.
Central Asia: Islamists in Prison, Asia
Briefing N°97, 15 December 2009.
Central Asia: Migrants and the Economic
Crisis, Asia Report N° 183, 5 January
Kyrgyzstan: A Hollow Regime Collapses,
Asia Briefing N°102, 27 April 2010.
The Pogroms in Kyrgyzstan, Asia Report
N°193, 23 August 2010.
Central Asia: Decay and Decline, Asia
Report N°201, 3 February 2011.
North East Asia
China's Thirst for Oil, Asia Report N° 153,
9 June 2008 (also available in Chinese).
South Korea's Elections: A Shift to the
Right, Asia Briefing N°77, 30 June 2008.
North Korea's Missile Launch: The Risks
of Overreaction, Asia Briefing N°91,
31 March 2009.
China's Growing Role in UN Peacekeeping, Asia Report N° 166, 17 April
2009 (also available in Chinese).
North Korea's Chemical and Biological
Weapons Programs, Asia Report N° 167,
18 June 2009.
North Korea's Nuclear and Missile Programs, Asia Report N° 168, 18 June
North Korea: Getting Back to Talks, Asia
Report N° 169, 18 June 2009.
China'sMyanmarDilemma, Asia Report
N°177, 14 September 2009 (also available in Chinese).
Shades of Red: China's Debate over North
Korea, Asia Report N° 179, 2 November
2009 (also available in Chinese).
The Iran Nuclear Issue: The View from
Beijing, Asia Briefing N°100, 17 February 2010 (also available in Chinese).
North Korea under Tightening Sanctions,
Asia Briefing N° 101, 15 March 2010.
China's My anmar Strategy: Elections,
Ethnic Politics and Economics, Asia
Briefing N°l 12, 21 September 2010 (also
available in Chinese).
North Korea: The Risks of War in the Yellow
Sea, Asia Report N° 198, 23 December
China and Inter-Korean Clashes in the
Yellow Sea, Asia Report N°200, 27
January 2011.
South Asia
After Bhutto's Murder: A Way Forward for
Pakistan, Asia Briefing N°74, 2 January
Afghanistan: The Need for International
Resolve, Asia Report N°145, 6 February
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
Restoring Democracy in Bangladesh, Asia
Report N°l51, 28 April 2008.
Nepal's Election: A Peaceful Revolution?,
Asia Report N° 155, 3 July 2008 (also
available in Nepali).
Nepal's New Political Landscape, Asia
Report N° 156, 3 July 2008 (also available in Nepali).
Reforming Pakistan \s Police, Asia Report
N°157, 14 July 2008.
Taliban Propaganda: Winning the War of
Words?, Asia Report N° 158, 24 July
Sri Lanka \s Eastern Province: Land,
Development, Conflict, Asia Report
N°159, 15 October 2008.
Reforming the Judiciary in Pakistan, Asia
Report N°160, 16 October 2008.
Bangladesh: Elections and Beyond, Asia
Briefing N°84, 11 December 2008.
Policing in Afghanistan: Still Searching for
a Strategy, Asia Briefing N°85, 18
December 2008.
Nepal's Faltering Peace Process, Asia
Report N°163, 19 February 2009 (also
available in Nepali).
Afghanistan: New U.S. Administration,
New Directions, Asia Briefing N°89,
13 March 2009.
Pakistan: The Militant Jihadi Challenge,
Asia Report N° 164, 13 March 2009.
Development Assistance and Conflict in Sri
Lanka: Lessons from the Eastern Province, Asia Report N°165, 16 April 2009.
Pakistan's LDP Crisis: Challenges and
Opportunities, Asia Briefing N°93, 3
June 2009.
Afghanistan's Election Challenges, Asia
Report N° 171, 24 June 2009.
Sri Lanka \s Judiciary: Politicised Courts,
Compromised Rights, Asia Report
N°172, 30 June 2009.
Nepal \s Future: In Whose Hands?, Asia
Report N° 173, 13 August 2009 (also
available in Nepali).
Afghanistan: What Now for Refugees?,
Asia Report N° 175, 31 August 2009.
Pakistan: Countering Militancy in FATA,
Asia Report N° 178, 21 October 2009.
Afghanistan: Elections and the Crisis of
Governance, Asia Briefing N°96, 25
November 2009.
Bangladesh: Getting Police Reform on
Track, Asia Report N° 182, 11 December
Sri Lanka: A Bitter Peace, Asia Briefing
N°99, 11 January 2010.
Nepal: Peace and Justice, Asia Report
N°184, 14 January 2010.
Reforming Pakistan \s Civil Service, Asia
Report N°185, 16 February 2010.
The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora after the
LTTE, Asia Report N° 186, 23 February
The Threat from Jamaat-ul Mujahideen
Bangladesh, AsiaReportN°187, 1
March 2010.
A Force in Fragments: Reconstituting the
Afghan National Army, Asia Report
N°190, 12 May 2010.
War Crimes in Sri Lanka, Asia Report
N°191, 17 May 2010.
Steps Towards Peace: Putting Kashmiris
First, Asia Briefing N°106, 3 June 2010.
Pakistan: The Worsening LDP Crisis, Asia
Briefing N°111, 16 September 2010.
Nepal's Political Rites of Passage, Asia
Report N°194, 29 September 2010 (also
available in Nepali).
 Nepal's Fitful Peace Process
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°120, 7 April 2011
Page 23
Reforming Afghanistan's Broken Judiciary,
Asia Report N° 195, 17 November 2010.
Afghanistan: Exit vs Engagement, Asia
Briefing N° 115, 28 November 2010.
Reforming Pakistan's Criminal Justice
System, Asia Report N° 196, 6 December
Nepal: Identity Politics and Federalism, Asia
Report N° 199, 13 January 2011.
Afghanistan's Elections Stalemate, Asia
Briefing N° 117, 23 February 2011.
Reforming Pakistan's Electoral System, Asia
ReportN°203, 30 March 2011.
South East Asia
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 (also available in Indonesian).
Timor-Leste \s Displacement Crisis, Asia
ReportN°148, 31 March2008.
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 (also
available in Indonesian).
Indonesia: Implications ofthe Ahmadiyah
Decree, Asia Briefing N°78, 7 July 2008
(also available in Indonesian).
Thailand: Political Turmoil and the Southern Insurgency, Asia Briefing N°80, 28
August 2008 (also available in Thai).
Indonesia: Pre-election Anxieties inAceh,
Asia Briefing N°81, 9 September 2008
(also available in Indonesian).
Thailand: Calming the Political Turmoil,
Asia Briefing N°82, 22 September 2008
(also available in Thai).
Burma/Myanmar After Nargis: Time to
Normalise Aid Relations, Asia Report
N°161, 20 October 2008 (also available
in Chinese).
The Philippines: The Collapse of Peace in
Mindanao, Asia Briefing N°83, 23
October 2008.
Local Election Disputes in Indonesia: The
Case of North Maluku, Asia Briefing
N°86, 22 January 2009.
Timor-Leste: No Time for Complacency,
Asia Briefing N°87, 09 February 2009.
The Philippines: Running in Place in
Mindanao, Asia Briefing N°88, 16
February 2009.
Indonesia: Deep Distrust inAceh as Elections Approach, Asia Briefing N°90, 23
March 2009.
Indonesia: Radicalisation ofthe "Palem-
bang Group", Asia Briefing N°92, 20
May 2009.
Recruiting Militants in Southern Thailand,
Asia Report N°170, 22 June 2009 (also
available in Thai).
Indonesia: The Hotel Bombings, Asia
Briefing N°94, 24 July 2009 (also available in Indonesian).
Myanmar: Towards the Elections, Asia
Report N° 174, 20 August 2009.
Indonesia: Noordin Top's Support Base,
Asia Briefing N°95, 27 August 2009.
Handing Back Responsibility to Timor-
Leste \s Police, Asia Report N° 180, 3
December 2009.
Southern Thailand: Moving towards Political Solutions?, Asia Report N° 181, 8
December 2009 (also available in Thai).
The Philippines: After the Maguindanao
Massacre, Asia Briefing N°98, 21
December 2009.
Radicalisation and Dialogue in Papua,
Asia Report N° 188, 11 March 2010 (also
available in Indonesian).
Indonesia: JihadiSurprise inAceh, Asia
Report N° 189, 20 April 2010.
Philippines: Pre-election Tensions in
Central Mindanao, Asia Briefing N°103,
4 May 2010.
Timor-Leste: Oecusse and the Indonesian
Border, Asia Briefing N°104, 20 May
The Myanmar Elections, Asia Briefing
N°105, 27 May 2010 (also available in
Bridging Thailand's Deep Divide, Asia
Report N° 192, 5 July 2010 (also
available in Thai).
Indonesia: The Dark Side of Jama 'ah
Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), Asia Briefing
N°107, 6 July 2010.
Indonesia: The Deepening Impasse in Papua,
Asia Briefing N°108, 3 August 2010.
Illicit Arms in Indonesia, Asia Briefing
N°109, 6 September 2010.
Managing Land Conflict in Timor-Leste, Asia
Briefing N° 110, 9 September 2010.
Stalemate in Southern Thailand, Asia
Briefing N°l 13, 3 November 2010.
Indonesia: "Christianisation " and
Intolerance, Asia Briefing N°l 14, 24
November 2010.
Indonesia: Preventing Violence in Local
Elections, Asia Report N° 197, 8
December 2010 (also available in
Timor-Leste: Time for the UN to Step Back,
Asia Briefing N°116, 15 December
The Communist Insurgency in the
Philippines: Tactics and Talks, Asia
Report N°202, 14 February 2011.
Myanmar \s Post-Election Landscape, Asia
Briefing N° 118, 7 March 2011.
The Philippines: Back to the Table, Warily,
in Mindanao, Asia Briefing N° 119, 24
March 2011.
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