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Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears International Crisis Group 2011-12-13

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 Update Briefing
Asia Briefing N° 131
Kathmandu/Brussels, 13 December 2011
Crisis Group
Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Nepal's peace process has moved into a phase of definitive progress. More than five years after the ceasefire, the
parties have reached a deal on the Maoist fighters, who will
leave the cantonments and enter the army or civilian life.
An unofficial deal sets out power-sharing arrangements
until the next election. The parties are focusing on the
critical task of writing anew constitution, which promises
a deep restructuring ofthe state to become more representative and decentralised. Challenges remain, including
from continuously evolving coalition dynamics and divisions within parties. There will also have to be further
discussions on the combatants. As the parties discuss federalism, which of all peace process issues goes most to
the heart of ordinary Nepalis' expectations and anxieties,
groups within and outside the Constituent Assembly will
see their options narrow, which could strain the process.
Yet, this is still the best chance the parties have had to
reach formal closure on the war and to institute some of
the fundamental changes they promised, provided they
have the courage to make far-sighted compromises.
The breakthrough on 1 November was the result of a series of realignments between many political leaders and
factions of parties, which strengthened the futures of certain individuals and acknowledged their political lines. The
major players also had few unused tools left in the negotiating process, and gratuitous inflexibility and stalling
had run their course as bargaining tactics. Major power
centres in all three parties, including a dogmatic faction
ofthe Maoists, resent having been left out ofthe talks.
But while they can obstruct and slow the process, they
cannot derail it. A consensus government will have to be
formed sooner or later, though it is unclear whether the
present government will need to resign or whether the
opposition will join in.
Power-sharing remains the most tangible dividend coming out ofthe peace process to date, though there was
no mention of it in the November 2006 Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA). The formation of a Maoist-led
government in August 2011 was the first factor that made
progress possible. Without that, the party would have
been reluctant to give up its army. Following that was the
Maoists' willingness to unofficially accept the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress (NC), as leader ofthe
post-constitution government to oversee the next election,
which should take place some months after the new constitution is adopted. The Maoists' main coalition partner,
the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (Morcha), an
alliance of five Madhes-based parties, has often been seen
as fractious and anti-Maoist, but the strength ofthe front
and the new government challenges that perception. Finally, there has been a gradual shift in India's policy line in
2011, reversing an often hostile approach to the Maoists
in favour of accommodation and cooperation.
After the 1 November agreement, the Maoist combatants
were surveyed and chose either integration into the national army or voluntary retirement with a cash package.
More fighters chose integration into the Nepal Army (NA)
than the 6,500 allowed by the deal. This opens up another
negotiation on the final number. Combatants likewise
showed themselves to be unhappy about decisions made
on individual qualifications for entry into the NA. Ranks
have not been decided yet either. The special concerns of
fighters with disabilities will also have to be addressed.
Discussions could be protracted, but are not likely to derail
the constitution writing process.
The term ofthe Constituent Assembly (CA) was renewed
for six months, from 1 December, and the state restructuring commission, controversial but mandated by the interim
constitution, was formed. The commission should build
on proposals already prepared in the CA and also provide
recommendations to that body. Its composition, however,
suggests that critical decisions will be taken elsewhere, at
the highest political level. Indeed, senior leaders are on
track to negotiate compromises on the proposed federal
states and system. They will have to balance acknowledging historical identities and discrimination and the rights
of Nepal's many ethnic, caste and linguistic groups.
The manner in which negotiations take place matters as
much as the outcome. Historically marginalised communities, their representatives in mainstream parties and other
ethnic formations have to be engaged, rather than simply
be informed of decisions. Centralised, top-down decisions
on federalism cannot be sold easily outside Kathmandu,
where identity-based groups and sceptics of federalism
have been mobilising. There is supposed to be public consultation on proposed constitutional provisions. Rather
than treat this as a formality, the parties should see it as a
way to increase the buy-in of various groups.
 Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 2
As the future landscape becomes clearer, resistance could
well come from traditionally powerful constituencies that
are outside the CA and see the proposed changes as a zero-sum game, including a mix of anti-federalists, Hindu
groups that oppose secularism and some royalists. The
parties in the CA and their factions will also look to extract the most from the process, and parliamentary parties
on the right are regrouping. For many, the temptation
could be to not negotiate, but instead to sharpen social
polarisation along the divisions the peace process seeks to
narrow: ethnic, religious, cultural, regional and class.
The peace process has informally come to mean only the
question ofthe Maoist fighters, rather than the whole of
the CPA. Politicians do regard the constitution as a matter
of urgency, but they are also exhausted and want to see
the process quickly concluded, so Nepal can go back to
business as usual. The commitment to democratise the
Nepal Army has already been dropped. The commission
on land reform is a dead-end. The issue of justice for war-
era abuses continues to be defined by the lack of incentive for all actors to deal with it. These issues and the
complexities of federalism will not lose relevance simply
because the mainstream parties decide to ignore them.
Whether or not they prove to be drivers of mass mobilisation or violence in the coming months, they will be critical ahead ofthe next general election. Nepal's political
class needs to make some difficult decisions rather quickly, so as to ensure its own relevance.
The 1 November deal for the first time laid out concrete
options for the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist
fighters and revived some ofthe major commitments of
the CPA.1 For the Maoists, this was a long-overdue demonstration oftheir party's willingness to give up its military.
For the NC and other parties, this meant accepting that
1 For recent Crisis Group reporting on the evolving political
dynamic, the connection between peace process issues and
power-sharing, and other contested issues related to the CA and
the Maoist army, see Asia Briefing N° 120, Nepal's Fitful Peace
Process, 7 April 2011; and Asia Report N°211, Nepal: From
Two Armies to One, 18 August 2011. For Crisis Group reporting on the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement,
the April 2008 Constituent Assembly election and the long
stalemate that followed, see Asia Report N° 126, Nepal's Peace
Agreement: Making it Work, 15 December 2006; Asia Report
N°155, Nepal's Election: A Peaceful Revolution, 3 July 2008;
Asia Report N°156, Nepal's New Political Landscape, 3 July
2008; and Asia Report N°211, Nepal's Future: In Whose
Hands?, 13 August 2009. Full Nepali translations of these reports and briefings, except Nepal's Peace Agreement: Making
it Work, are available at
integration of some Maoist fighters into the Nepal Amy
(NA) was unavoidable and that continuously stalling was
no longer rewarding.2 The deal is critical for the Maoist
fighters, whose future has been up in the air for five years.
More broadly, it paved the way for progress on the constitution, which was stalled as long as there were two armies
in the country.
The Maoist party was clear that it had to be in power before it could make a deal that would dismantle the People's
Liberation Army (PLA). The other parties and New Delhi
were equally clear that a Maoist-led government could not
be headed by the party chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal
"Prachanda", who they felt had been unreliable and antagonistic when he was prime minister.3 For them, as well
as for the faction ofthe Maoist party led by Senior Vice-
Chairman Mohan Baidya "Kiran", that felt Prachanda exerted too much control over the party, senior leader Baburam Bhattarai was a broadly acceptable option.4
A maximum of 6,500 ex-combatants are to be integrated into
a new Nepal Army (NA) directorate responsible for forest and
industrial security, development support and crisis management. There is to be some relaxation of the NA's regular recruitment standards for age, educational qualifications and marital status. Whatever the final number of former Maoist fighters
are chosen for integration, they are to comprise 35 per cent of
the personnel in the directorate, whose remaining personnel are
to be drawn from other parts of the NA. Cash packages for
combatants to be rehabilitated have also been negotiated. See
also Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One, op.
cit. Other elements of the deal include forming the commissions on enforced disappearance and truth and reconciliation,
addressing "legal cases ofthe conflict period" in keeping with
the CPA and the 2007 interim constitution and providing relief
packages for conflict victims. For more on justice and reparations issues, see Crisis Group Reports N°184, Nepal: Peace
and Justice, 14 January 2010 and Nepal: From Two Armies to
One, op. cit. The parties committed to forming a national consensus government as the peace process and constitution writing proceeded. This left the door open for further disputes on
sequencing. Similarly, there is no clarity on how land reform
will take place, although the CPA calls for a commission. Finally, the CPA and interim constitution present as parallel the
commitments to integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army
personnel and democratisation ofthe Nepal Army, but the latter
is entirely absent from the new agreement.
3 Prachanda's attempt to dismiss the chief of army staff in April
2009 and his perceived attempts to counter India's influence in
Nepal on politics and economy by moving closer to China went
a long way towards making him unacceptable and contributed
significandy to the sidelining ofthe Maoists from government
and decision-making from May 2009 until early 2011. For background, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Future: In Whose
Hands?, and Briefing, Nepal's Fitful Peace Process, both op. cit.
4 Although Prachanda continues to be the most influential leader
in the party, senior Maoist leaders have posed sustained challenges to him in 2011 and demanded more democratic decision-
 Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 3
For the Maoists, leading the government would help sell
the deal to the combatants and enable greater control over
its implementation.5 Ifthe 1 November agreement had not
happened, the party would have taken a "unilateral" step
on the cantonments, arguing that it was willing to sacrifice and meet the other parties more than halfway, in order
to ensure progress on the constitution. With or without
the deal, the Maoists would regain credibility. In fact,
moving on the PLA was a compulsion for the party as
much as it was a conciliatory gesture. The army's political
usefulness was declining, and its potential to be a liability
was increasing.6 The time, therefore, was right to reach an
agreement on the combatants' futures and to extract some
concessions in return.
Obstruction and stalling on peace process negotiations
carried the NC up to a point. But the Maoists began credibly stating in 2011 that they would move unilaterally on
the PLA, if necessary, and the Maoist-Madhesi alliance
appeared to be strong. Additionally, anti-Maoist positions
no longer had India's blanket support. The alternatives to
the peace process occasionally floated over the last two
years - dissolution ofthe CA, a period of president's rule,
fresh elections - had receded rapidly following the extension ofthe CA in May 2011. Given the infighting within
the parties, none was in a position to take advantage of a
serious change of course. The NA was not in the mood
for a confrontation, and there would have been no international support for abandonment ofthe peace process.
By May 2011, the parties were also finally negotiating
specifics, such as when the Maoists would hand the PLA's
making. The remainder of this section is based on Crisis Group
interviews, senior members of NC, the Maoist party, Madhesi
parties, UML, journalists, Indian officials and observers,
Kathmandu and New Delhi, August-November 2011.
5 Taking a broader view, the first step towards the breakthrough
was the UML-Maoist government formed in February 2011
under the UML chairman, Jhala Nath Khanal. The Maoists came
back into the government in stages. Being a junior partner in
Khanal's cabinet made their approach to other actors and display of flexibility seem more plausible and conciliatory. Then,
to extend the term of the C A in May 2011 by three months, the
parties struck a deal, enthusiastically supported by the Maoists,
which said Khanal would resign to pave the way for a national
unity government. This meant that the government would have
to change by the end of August, when the CA came up for renewal again, whether or not a consensus government was possible. In July, the Maoist party central committee agreed on
Bhattarai as its candidate for prime minister, which reduced
some tensions between senior leaders. The alliance with the
Madhesi Morcha was formed in the following weeks, and with
its support, Bhattarai was elected prime minister at the end of
August. The CA was renewed for another three months with
little ceremony, and the Maoists could start making progress on
the peace process.
6 For more on discontent among the combatants, see Crisis
Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One, op. cit.
weapons over to the state and whether leadership ofthe
government could rotate between parties.7 When Bhattarai was elected prime minister in August 2011, all parties were displaying an unprecedented degree of fatigue.
Although the NC understandably feared losing leverage
over the process once there had been minor progress on
the combatants, some movement on the PLA at least had
become inevitable. These new conditions mattered particularly to the NC, whose leaders had begun to think of
life beyond the disbanding ofthe PLA and the constitution.
Individual leaders are increasingly concerned as much about
their political futures as they are about the party's electoral prospects. Factionalism has eroded the authority of
many senior leaders and slowed down the careers of others. Abstract incentives, like not being seen as the spoiler
in the process or building political capital by making
statesman-like contributions, do not offer immediate or
guaranteed rewards. But peace process progress does
promise tangible benefits: a share of government and the
ability to expand individual and party networks.
This was the context in which some of the same actors
who had put together the original 2005 twelve-point agreement between the parties negotiated the new deal.8 This
negotiation, as in 2005, was helped along by India. The
other major player without a formal seat at the table was
the Nepal Army, but senior generals were kept apprised
ofthe talks as they proceeded.9
It is not clear whether the calculation will pay off entirely
for the Maoists. The 1 November deal has validated the
peace process to some sceptics in and outside the party.
It has also reinforced the Maoists' position as the most
significant party, without whose leadership the peace process flounders. But the details of integration and rehabilitation have caused resentment among combatants and
within the party's dogmatic faction, which includes Kiran
and other senior leaders. The fighters feel it is a bad deal,
particularly regarding integration. For the Kiran faction,
what they regard as "humiliating" terms for integration and
abandonment of the commitment to democratising the
7 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One,
op. cit.
8 The twelve-point agreement of 2005 paved the way for the
Jana Andolan (People' s Movement) in April the next year, the unseating ofthe king, the ceasefire and finally the peace process.
9 The NA was notjust kept informed about the negotiations; the
final deal on integration was based on an NA proposal from
earlier in 2011. See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One, op. cit. The subject of democratisation and downsizing of the army to make it more accountable, inclusive and
affordable is never raised in discussions between the parties
and the NA.
 Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 4
Nepal Army are signs that the party is becoming revisionist,
instead of staying revolutionary.10
So far, in return for these compromises, the party appears
to have gained only leadership ofthe government. The
discontent in the party and army does not amount to outright rejection ofthe peace process, but it is a warning that
the leadership cannot afford to give up on its core agenda
or dismiss the concerns ofthe fighters. The "establishment"
faction indirectly argues that giving up, or even "sacrificing" the PLA is essential to keeping the peace process intact and making progress on the bigger aim of a new constitution. A PLA divisional commander told Crisis Group,
"The PLA will no longer exist. Having paved the way for
the new constitution, it will become part of history through
the constitution".11 Careful negotiations on two fronts -
on federalism at the CA and within the party on sharing
of power and decision-making - will be essential, if Bhattarai and Prachanda are to manage the alienation of many
fighters and party workers and the resentment oftheir
rivals in the party.
To maintain progress in the peace process, the Maoists
will have to keep their allies close and make good on their
promises. The Madhesi Morcha has a large share of ministries in the government and Madhes-based parties and
the Maoists have a common commitment to federalism,
unlike many actors in the other parties. The strength of
the Maoist-Madhesi alliance hinges on these factors and
the Morcha members' ability to stick together. Unless he
wants another long stalemate on the peace process, Prachanda will have to keep his ambition to lead the country
on hold. He will need to reassure NC president Sushil
Koirala that once the new constitution is promulgated under Bhattarai, the NC will, as promised, be allowed to
lead the government that will conduct the next general
election. NC members have said candidly to Crisis Group
that their party fears not being back in power before the
next election and thus having less access to state authority
and resources.12 The Maoists' promise was private and
unofficial, and such backroom deals have often been subject to different interpretations in recent years.
In addition to maintaining momentum on the PLA and
negotiating constitutional issues, the parties must also
decide how and when to form a government of national
unity. There are disputes over whether the present govern-
Crisis Group interviews, PLA personnel in the Third, Fifth,
Sixth and Seventh Division cantonments, Chitwan, Rolpa, Surkhet and Kailali, 18-21 November 2011.
11 Crisis Group interview, Dhana Bahadur Maskey "Rajesh",
PLA Third Division Commander, Shaktikhor, Chitwan, 18 November 2011.
12 Crisis Group interviews, NC central working committee members, Kathmandu, August, September, October 2011.
ment must resign and a new one be formed, or whether the
opposition NC and UML can join in Bhattarai's government. Ifthe latter, then division of ministerial portfolios
could again slow things down. It is also not clear whether
this will be the promised NC-led government.
A. Integration in the NA or Cash?
The 1 November deal set out for the first time some details ofthe options available to PLA members. This allowed the multi-party special committee on supervision,
integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants (special committee) to go to the cantonments and begin a "regrouping" process. This involved re-verifying Maoist army personnel13 and asking whether they preferred integration, a buy-out and voluntary retirement or rehabilitation.
More than 9,000 opted for integration, just over 7,000 for
retirement and a mere six for rehabilitation. About 2,600
ofthe PLA's 19,600 verified combatants did not appear
for the process. Combatants will be separated into groups
and go into training courses before they are placed in the
NA, take their cash and leave or enter rehabilitation programs for further training. Combatants will thus be separated from the PLA command structure and the Maoist
army will be dissolved.
Some roadblocks became apparent as soon as the secretariat ofthe special committee went into the cantonments.
Crisis Group observed late preparations for the regrouping process and its early days in four ofthe seven Maoist
cantonments. Combatants understood the need for progress on disbanding the PLA but were often deeply anxious about their own futures. There was a palpable sense
that the Maoist leadership had not negotiated with the
combatants' best interests at heart. Most fighters had calculated in detail the costs and benefits of each option. Far
from being the unschooled, unruly or brainwashed combatants imagined by Kathmandu's elites and donors, these
are rational and largely committed individuals making
difficult choices.
Combatants were angry at their leaders for having agreed
to the NC demand that their rank and education qualifications as of the 2007 verification would be the basis for
determining entry into the NA and their rank there. The
NC argues that since the proposal for integration already
offers some flexibility beyond the NA's standard norms
for recruitment and promotions, it would be asking too
much to also consider the combatants' present qualifica-
Maoist army members were originally verified as such by the
UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in 2007. For details, see Crisis
Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One, op. cit.
 Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 5
tions. However, the majority ofthe 19,500-strong Maoist
army have used the last four years to study, and many
have been promoted. The highest rank at which an ex-
Maoist combatant will be integrated is also undecided.14
The secretariat agreed to list old and new ranks on identity cards and to document combatants' current level of education. A final decision on numbers, rank and education
will have to be taken at the political level and could be a
complex negotiation.
The Maoists will also be under pressure from the other
parties to account for the salaries and allowances paid out
to the 2,600 fighters who did not present themselves for
regrouping. Non-Maoist parties have often said that fewer
combatants remained in the cantonments than had been
verified and that the party was diverting their salaries. They
are now demanding that the Maoist party return the salaries. However, there is no way of knowing for how long
these combatants have been missing from the cantonments or indeed how many returned for the grouping after
a considerable absence.15
The bargaining could hinge on numbers. For many Maoist
fighters, the NA offers stability, a secure job and a pension.
Moreover, a combatant said, "I'm young, I still want to
do something for the country. I've been a fighter, so it's
natural that I choose the army".16
There is more to the rush for integration than a sense of
duty or career prospects, though. For others, the motivation could be disillusionment with the leaders who negotiated the deal. Some combatants expressed their dissatisfaction with the deal and the irrationality of deciding on
numbers before conducting a survey. A fighter said, "They
[the Maoist leadership] decided on how many of us would
go into the army, and they gave in to the NC on education.
But now they are asking us. So some friends are express-
Members ofthe special committee say that although the NA
maintains that major is the highest rank it will allow a former
Maoist fighter, one colonel slot is still possible. This may be
subject to an informal agreement that the person receiving that
rank will not be promoted further or will take early retirement.
Crisis Group interview, special committee member, November
2011. "We did not fight with the aim of becoming generals in
the Nepal Army", a senior commander told Crisis Group, "but
it [accommodating a few ex-combatants at senior levels] is a
matter of accepting that we did not lose the war". Crisis Group
interview, PLA Third Division cantonment, Shaktikhor, Chitwan, 18 November 2011.
15 A PLA fighter is paid a salary of about $77 a month and an
allowance of about $0.85-$1.30a day. At minimum, therefore,
a month's salary and allowance for 2,600 fighters is worth just
over $266,000. For debates about the size of the PLA and attendance in the cantonments, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal:
From Two Armies to One, op. cit.
16 Crisis Group interview, soldier, PLA Fifth Division, Dana-
ban, Rolpa, 19 November 2011.
ing their opinion and choosing integration even if they
won't be able to join the army. Some are mothers, others
are disabled".17
About 10-15 per centof PLA combatants have disabilities.
They argue that their needs are not adequately met by any
ofthe options and have said they will agitate.18 Choices
for women fighters are similarly limited. Ofthe close to
4,000 women fighters, many are married and at least half
have children. They will not be eligible for integration.19
PLA commanders downplay it, but the divisions at the
top ofthe party are present to some degree in the cantonments.20 The Kiran faction called on loyalists to opt for
retirement and continue working for the revolution. In response, initially at least, the party establishment and commanders appear to have suggested to combatants that they
opt for integration. In the first two days ofthe regrouping
process, a higher proportion of combatants were opting
for integration over retirement, in some cantonments almost double. By the end ofthe third day, the numbers began levelling off The commander ofthe Sixth Division
told Crisis Group that he and some of his counterparts
had started counselling fighters to choose cash, so that
there was not an unmanageable number for integration.21
The cash packages are attractive, between Rs. 500,000
(approx. $5,960) and Rs. 800,000 (approx. $9,500).22
Crisis Group telephone interview, mid-level commander, PLA
Third Division, Shaktikhor, Chitwan, 26 November 2011.
18 See, forexample, "PM, Dahal met with stir warning[?]", The
Himalayan Times, 2 December 2011. While addressing their
concerns, it is vital that all parties remember the other victims of
the war, from all sides, for whom support and reparations have
been ad hoc at best. See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two
Armies to One, op. cit.
19 For more on women combatants, who comprise about 25 per
cent of the PLA, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two
Armies to One, op. cit.
20 In the Fifth Division, for example, one division vice-commander stuck to the party line that the PLA was not against the
1 November agreement but wanted a better deal. The other said
that he disagreed with the spirit ofthe 1 November agreement.
Press conference, Raj Bahadur Budha Magar "Avinash" and
Ram Lai Roka Magara "Madan", PLA Fifth Division vice commanders, Dahaban, Rolpa, 19 November 2011.
21 Crisis Group interview, Mahendra Shahi "Prajwal", PLA
Sixth Division commander, Dasarathpur, Surkhet, 21 November 2011. It is possible the party wanted the final figure to be
more than 6,500, so as to gain leverage in further negotiations.
The party's approach has been fluid. A senior Maoist and former PLA leader told Crisis Group in August that he was uncertain how many fighters would want to be part ofthe Nepal Army.
The cash rehabilitation packages were generous and could have
been attractive to many who found the years in the cantonments
22 "Shanti ra samvidhanka lagi sahamati", Kantipur, 2 November 2011.
 Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 6
About 2,500 Maoist combatants discharged from the cantonments in early 2010 continue to mobilise and criticise
the party establishment for abandoning them. Publicly,
they have the support ofthe Kiran faction, and their rhetoric of being "humiliated" could find resonance among
combatants who say the 1 November deal did not fully
respect the PLA's contribution to the creation of a secular
republic. It is too early to say whether combatants excluded
from integration will be driven to mobilise along similar
or more aggressive lines, but the party's own treatment of
them will be a decisive factor.23 There has been no discussion yet of follow-up and monitoring. For combatants who
choose retirement, this is perhaps neither desirable nor
feasible. For those who enter the Nepal Army, however,
there is a clear need for integrated combatants and their
new commanding officers to have a neutral body that can
address and adjudicate grievances and disputes that might
arise, such as differences over ranks and promotions or
ill-treatment. This function could be carried out by a modified form ofthe special committee's secretariat.24
Only half a dozen ofthe almost 17,000 combatants surveyed opted for rehabilitation, although the package contains vocational training courses, stipends and a small sum
of money upfront. The goals ofthe rehabilitation option
are to separate individuals from a life of war and full-time
party work and enable them to start new lives with reasonable prospects.25 For a variety of reasons, however, the
perception among combatants is that rehabilitation entails
commitment to a long training program with no guarantee
of employment at the end. In contrast, the prospect of
immediate cash in hand makes sense to those who want to
move on to other things quickly and who may not want to
separate themselves from full-time party work. Moreover,
the vocabulary of rehabilitation is itself distasteful to
combatants who argue that they have contributed posi-
See, for example "Discharged fighters form organisation",
The Kathmandu Post, 2 December 2011, about a group of disqualified fighters forming an organisation called People's Liberation Army Nepal. Its objective is not a return to war, but better treatment for the fighters. For an analysis ofthe discharge
process and its implications for retirement and rehabilitation of
verified fighters, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two
Armies to One, op. cit. There is a mix of personal, party, and
factional calculations at play. How these ultimately sort themselves out could have implications for whether or not elements
ofthe party's military structure will survive in some residual
24 For this and other recommendations, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One, op. cit.
25 For a detailed account of the donor-driven push for rehabilitation and combatants' attitudes, see ibid.
tively to Nepal by making it a republic, not done something criminal.
"The rehab training is for us to become goat herders, make
orange juice or repair cars", a platoon commander said
disapprovingly.26 Although making a living is a driving
concern, many combatants retain a strong sense of wanting to contribute to the country. A divisional commander
said some kinds of vocational training could have been
devised to address this desire, such as how to build solar
panels or set up very small hydro power plants. It is unclear whether the Maoist representatives to the special
committee and its secretariat conveyed such views to donors. The commander noted that "cultural" factors also
contributed to combatants' reluctance to opt for rehabilitation. "The government [represented by the special committee] could not even set up their internet connection for the
regrouping process properly. Then they had trouble printing IDs. How can combatants be sure their programs will
be well-administered or that they will not be given the run-
around by bureaucrats later?"27
There has been a clear failure on three fronts. The Maoist
party leadership and PLA command have been unable or
unwilling to discuss the rehabilitation option frankly with
the fighters.28 The non-Maoist parties washed their hands
of rehabilitation, saying they did not want to deal with
administering such a program.29 There has also been a political failure of donors, who did not sufficiently press the
Maoist party and government to take the option seriously.
They criticised the cash packages on the grounds that "international experience" showed them to be ineffective,30
while rehabilitation was presented as a separate, third option after integration or cash. Yet, it was clear months before the regrouping began that all political representatives
on the special committee favoured money, not rehabilitation. So, by all accounts, did the combatants.31 Donors might
Crisis Group interview, PLA Seventh Division, Taalband,
Kailali, 20 November 2011.
27 Crisis Group interview, Prajwalla, PLA Seventh Division
commander, Dasarathpur, Surkhet, 21 November 2011. His
views were echoed by a member of the special committee's
secretariat that conducted the regrouping.
28 The Maoists took a similar approach during the discharge of
fighters who were disqualified as underage or recruited after
the peace deal. The party actively dissuaded those discharged
from accepting the rehabilitation packages administered by the
UN Development Programme (UNDP), saying that the party
would take care of them.
29 Crisis Group interview, international observer, Kathmandu,
November 2011.
30 Crisis Group interviews, donor representatives, EU, UK and
UN, Kathmandu, February, June, August, September, November 2011.
31 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One,
op. cit.
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Page 7
have avoided embarrassment if they had acknowledged
this and worked to integrate the retirement cash and rehabilitation options, instead of focusing on the unaccepta-
bility of cash payments.
The generosity of the cash payments, particularly compared to "international standards", is often pointed out, and
they do indeed compare favourably with the savings of
many Nepalis. "The money does give us a certain financial base, especially if both husband and wife take it", a
married combatant said. "But realistically, there is nothing in Nepal to invest in. It does not make financial sense
to use it to improve my cucumber yield. And it is not
enough to start something new".32 Donors may yet find
interest in the rehabilitation package in the months to
come, after combatants have invested their cash or paid
off debts. They and the politicians would then have to
decide whether such fighters could still qualify.
Donors might also consider supporting special programs
for fighters with disabilities. These combatants say that
many among their numbers have serious, ongoing medical needs or require rehabilitation therapy. The cash being
offered is insufficient. Many also cannot choose from the
rehabilitation packages but could work in specially designed
jobs. The special committee on integration and rehabilitation has promised to make arrangements,33 and donors
should consider funding these efforts. Women combatants have not organised in a coherent manner, but many
with children may have special needs.
The most critical constitutional issue is how Nepal will
be restructured into a federal state. This has actual and
symbolic significance for many historically marginalised
groups, which argue that federalism should recognise
their identity, enable a more representative political class
and bureaucracy and grant significant autonomy to the
proposed provinces as the best way to end discrimination
on the basis of ethnic, caste or regional identity. Some of
these groups also argue for preferential political rights.34
There is a proposal in the CA, although not all parties
have signed on to it. Major decisions to be made include
the basis of division and naming of states; the extent of
autonomy they will have; relations between states; and
Crisis Group interview, PLA Seventh Division cantonment,
Taalband, Kailali, 20 November 2011.
33 See, "Special committee members address fighters' concerns", The Kathmandu Post, 24 November 2011.
34 See Crisis Group Asia Report N° 199, Nepal: Identity Politics
and Federalism, 13 January 2011.
how demands for preferential rights based on ethnicity
and quotas are to be addressed. There is an understanding
that the most contentious issues will be decided at the
highest political level. Individual CA members as well as
members of Madhesi parties and the janajati (indigenous)
caucus, which cuts across party lines are concerned that
decisions on federalism made in this way will ignore the
debates in the CA and be determined instead by the political manoeuvrings of senior leaders.35
In the 1 November deal, the parties committed to forming
an expert panel to work out the details ofthe federal system. This was to replace the state restructuring commission mentioned in the interim constitution. Madhesi parties had to overcome significant reluctance to sign on to the
deal that stemmed from fear the panel would not reflect
their demands adequately. Then, the janajati caucus argued
that the panel would take the entire issue out ofthe CA,
whereas the commission was at least a constitutional body.
Caucus members defied party whips and voted down the
constitutional amendment that was needed to form the
panel.36 This was a significant move, and indicates that
historically marginalised communities and their representatives will not take kindly to any dilution ofthe federalism
agenda.37 Dalit CA members similarly lobbied successfully for the expansion ofthe commission to include a Dalit
representative. "Federalism is the only peace process issue
which truly touches all Nepalis", a pro-federalism NC
member said.38
The commission, when it was subsequently formed, was
described by a newspaper as a "big joke".39 Observers
and some CA members noted that, instead ofthe prominent scholars, activists and negotiators they had expected,
it resembled a gathering of enfeebled NGOs, with a couple of token academics added in. The concern for some in
the CA now is that since decisions will clearly be made
elsewhere, the commission will become a handy tool to
stall proceedings.40
Other issues also need formal agreement to be included in
the draft constitution. The compromise on the form of
Crisis Group interviews, CA members, Kathmandu, November, December 2011.
36 "We in the indigenous caucus might not be able to get motions passed in the CA, but we are capable of blocking anything", a senior Maoistjanajati leader said. Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, September 2011.
37 For an excellent analysis ofthe significance ofthe caucus's
action, see Deepak Thapa, "Disengaged leadership", The
Kathmandu Post, 24 November 2011.
38 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, November 2011.
39 See "Disappointing", editorial in Republica, 23 November
40 Crisis Group interviews, NC and Madhesi party members,
political scientist, Kathmandu, November, December 2011.
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Page <
governance is widely expected to be a semi-presidential
system, with a directly elected chief executive and a prime
minister elected by parliament, although discussions on
division of power between those two need refinement. On
the electoral system, the meeting point is a combination
of direct, single round election (first-past-the-post, FPTP)
and proportional representation at the national, provincial
and local levels, possibly with a majority ofthe seats to
be decided by FPTP.
The issue ofthe judicial system has been settled for now
but remains controversial in legal circles. A constitutional
court has been proposed, as well as appointment of judges
by an independent body that includes representatives from
parliament. This is a considerable change from the original concept, primarily put forward by the Maoists, which
would have limited the authority ofthe Supreme Court;
provided that constitutional disputes would be settled by a
parliamentary body; and would have made all judges political appointees. The legal community is a significant constituency for politicians to alienate, given the increasing
appeals to the Supreme Court on the peace process and
politically important issues such as extension ofthe CA
and pardons for crimes committed by party members.41
Baburam Bhattarai's election as prime minister in late
August 2011 marked a real moment of optimism for many
in Kathmandu, including non-Maoists. Bhattarai is reputed to be a clean, well-educated politician with a vision for
the country.42 Although the government does not include
the NC, (which is the second largest party) or the UML,
peace process negotiations between the Maoists and them
intensified and eventually led to the 1 November breakthrough. Prachanda remains the primary negotiator between
the Maoists and other parties, but Bhattarai, as prime minister is responsible for implementing decisions, such as
directing the regrouping of combatants and the return of
land seized by Maoists during the conflict.
This government faced challenges almost immediately.
Differences re-surfaced within the Maoist party as soon
as Bhattarai took over. The dogmatic faction led by Kiran
has opposed or criticised every compromise Bhattarai and
Prachanda have made on the peace process. The party
was able to move on the combatants, without being actively stopped, but the faction could tap into deep sensitivities around landlessness in the mid- and far-western
Tarai region. The Kiran faction invokes the CPA, which
contains "parallel commitments" for the Maoists and the
state: the Maoist fighters to be integrated and rehabilitated, but the Nepal Army to be democratised and "right-
sized". The Maoists have often pledged to return captured
land, but the CPA also calls for a commission on scientific land reform.
The Kiran faction also called the new coalition "anti-
national", a coded accusation that Bhattarai and the Madhesi parties are too close to India and too wedded to federalism.43 The agreement between the Maoists and Madhesi
Morcha fed into this fear, by referring to a right to self-
determination for the new federal states, a new Madhesi
unit in the army and improving relations with both of
Nepal's neighbours.44 The apparent Indian support for the
41 In November 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that the CA
could not be extended beyond one final six-month term if it
failed to complete the constitution and that there would then
have to be a referendum or fresh elections to a new CA. This
strongly worded ruling drew sharp responses, with most parties
noting that the life ofthe CA was a political, rather than constitutional matter. The Supreme Court issued two contradictory
rulings in response to similar petitions challenging the legality
of extensions ofthe CA's terms earlier. The cabinet's recommendation to the president that a Maoist party member convicted of murder be pardoned was also challenged in the Supreme
Court, which issued a stay order.
42 The CA's mandate, due to expire at the end of August, was
extended by a further three months with no wrangling. Bhattarai also immediately handed over the keys to the PLA weapons
containers in the Maoist cantonments to the special committee;
announced relief packages and austerity measures; directed district officials to oversee the return by the Maoist party of land
and property it had seized during the conflict to its rightful
owners; requested the NC to j oin the government; and said that
anti-corruption and watchdog bodies would be strengthened.
Bhattarai's trips to the UN, India and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit were also
largely successful. Yet, the current cabinet is also the largest
and most expensive democratic Nepal has had. A Maoist minister, accused in a murder case, had to be withdrawn while another, also accused in a murder case, remains a state minister.
There are allegations of widespread corruption against cabinet
members, and even Bhattarai has alluded to the need to turn a
blind eye to such things at the present moment. See "Don't
know names of many ministers: PM", The Kathmandu Post, 15
November 2011.
43 Suspicion from within the Maoist party of federalism seems
paradoxical, given that this has been a core demand ofthe Maoist movement. But some leaders are still wary of ethnicity or
identity taking precedence over class as a basis for decisionmaking.
44 The Maoist-Morcha agreement contained numerous other
clauses. On integration, decisions would be made by the special
committee and there would be "unit-wise" integration of 7,000
combatants. The Maoist party indirectly committed to return
seized property. The government was to provide relief to those
"victimised by the state" during the war, the people' s and Madhes movements and other movements of "communities with
valid demands". A bill on inclusion in state institutions that
Madhesi parties had criticised for not going far enough would
be amended. Cases filed against activists or sympathisers dur-
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 9
coalition only reinforced the faction's suspicions and elicited comments about the "Sikkimisation" of Nepal.45
Indeed, every ultra-nationalist constituency, including royalists and the right, the UML and the far left ofthe Maoist
party, has denounced the government as anti-national. To
these critics, changing the Nepali state and re-defining
nationalism to acknowledge ethnic and other identity and
address discrimination runs counter to their exclusivist
views of national unity and identity. The aspersions cast
on Madhesi parties and ministers for closeness to sections
ofthe Indian establishment and on the demand for greater
representation in the army take on ethnic overtones and
suggest a barely veiled judgment that Madhesi populations are more "Indian" than "Nepali".46 This school ofna-
ing the war and these movements would be withdrawn. A
commitment to form a unit of 10,000 Madhesis in the Nepal
Army prompted further allegations of anti-nationalism. This is
not a new demand, however. A Madhes agitation in February
2008 threatened the planned elections to the CA. The deal
which brought Madhesi actors back into the process included a
commitment to bringing Madhesis into the NA to make it more
inclusive. It was also a critical issue in the May 2011 extension
ofthe CA. See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies
to One, op. cit. The alliance also agreed to reverse an earlier
government decision declaring that the hill costume of "daura
suruwal" would be the national dress. The daura suruwal and
Nepali cap are closely associated not only with hill culture, but
also with the traditional state and bureaucracy, as it was for
long the only acceptable official dress. For many Madhesis,
therefore the outfit represents discrimination and enforced ho-
45 India certainly has often exercised a powerful hold over Nepal
and its politics but shows no signs of actually wanting to colonise the country. The "Sikkimisation" reference is to the events
that led to the referendum whereby the kingdom of Sikkim was
merged into the Indian union in 1975. The issue is not whether
Nepal will be annexed by India, but the complexity and depth
ofthe anti-Indian component of traditional royalist and leftist,
Nepali nationalism. The same actors can in one instance be vocal about "anti-national" or "pro-India" actions, and the next
moment be courting New Delhi. For example, the Madhav
Kumar Nepal-led government of mid-2009 to early 2011 was
enthusiastically and openly supported by the Indian establishment. Its primary aim was to keep the Maoists out, and it did
the most to polarise politics in recent years. Yet, many supporters of its government criticise the present coalition for apparently having the approval of important actors in New Delhi.
46 For example, soon after the current government was formed,
it appeared as if a Madhesi might be appointed defence minister.
This did not happen, but People's Review, an ultra-nationalist
but pro-China weekly, ran a front-page "satirical" piece entitled, "A 'dhoti' in Army HQ?!" The article was ostensibly about
the scrapping ofthe hill daura suruwal costume as Nepal's official dress and how the army, where daura suruwal is expected,
would react to a Madhesi minister wearing a Madhesi dhoti at
official functions. "Dhoti" is also a derogatory term for people
of Madhesi origin. The resistance to making the NA more in-
tionalism has traditionally regarded India as covetous of
Nepali territory and now sees federalism as a precursor to
the disintegration ofthe country, even though historically
marginalised groups want to be more, not less integrated
with the Nepali state.47
Madhesi Morcha members tended until recently to side with
the NC or UML. Their unexpected switch to the Maoists
compounded the negative reaction to the ruling coalition,
which was also labelled "unnatural", because the Maoists
and the Madhesi political class have clashed in the past.
The Madhesi leadership largely comprises former members of older parties, including the NC and the royalists. It
also, broadly speaking, represents the elite ofthe Tarai and
during the war, was part of a larger social group - landowning, upper caste - that came into confrontation with
the Maoists. But those categories are changing, and leadership ofthe Madhesi parties and movement is an evolving
one in terms of class and caste.48
Madhesi parties see themselves as responding to their
constituencies' demand for greater inclusion and state restructuring. Both of these are also integral to the Maoist
agenda. On these issues, the Morcha and Maoists have
more in common than other actors in Nepali politics.49 This,
as much as the supposed unnaturalness or pro-Indian nature
ofthe coalition, is a source for resentment ofthe present
government. A lasting Maoist-Madhesi alliance would inevitably erode the ability of other parties to form majority
governments, even as they face further electoral challenges.
elusive has come from a variety of quarters. One newspaper
report said that Madhesi ministers did not know how many
people of Madhesi origin were in the army. They said it was
under 900, while the NA counted over 6,500. "Madhesi leaders
don't know Madhesi strength in Army", Republica, 3 October
2011. It was accompanied by an editorial citing this ignorance
as proof that Madhesi ministers were not serious about inclusion and only using it as a political tool and that the NA was
inclusive enough. "Reality vs perception", Republica, 3 October 2011. The NA is 95,000 strong, and by the army's count,
Madhesis constitute about 7 per cent of its personnel - far from
the 40 per cent they make up ofthe population. A civil society
activist also noted that the NA figure was misleading, as it included many Madhesi sweepers and kitchen staff. Crisis Group
interview, October 2011. Other media coverage following the
Maoist-Madhesi agreement challenged the idea that Madhesis
want federalism at all, despite considerable evidence to the contrary. See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity Politics and
Federalism, op. cit.
47 For an excellent analysis of these arguments and positions,
see Prashant Jha, "The conservative assault", The Kathmandu
Post, 15 September 2011 and Deepak Thapa, "The enigma of
identity", The Kathmandu Post, 22 June 2011.
48 Crisis Group interview, Madhesi party members, Kathmandu, September, October 2011.
49 Crisis Group interviews, Madhesi, Maoist party members,
Kathmandu, September, October, 2011.
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Page 10
While most traditional parties have been deeply ambivalent about inclusion and federalism, the rise ofthe Madhesi parties has particularly affected the NC, whose historical electoral base in the Tarai is now much diminished.50
A. The Maoists
The faction of Kiran, Ram Bahadur Thapa "Badal" and
some other senior leaders ofthe Unified Communist Party
of Nepal - Maoist (UCPN-M) has protested a number of
decisions made by the "establishment" wing ofthe party.51
Yet, its objections are not categorical rejections of peace
process commitments. They are instead about the extent
to which the Maoists' own demands have been given up
and the way in which this faction's concerns were dismissed
during decision-making.52
Some ofthe discontent stems from Bhattarai reneging on
his end ofthe so-called "Dhobighat agreement" that was
reached in July, when Baidya, Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji
Shrestha (now foreign minister) came together to challenge
Prachanda's tight control over the party and tendency to
take decisions by himself Their combined pressure forced
him to relinquish some of his authority over the organisation to Baidya and over the PLA to Badal, though so far
this appears to have been a more notional than actual transfer of power.53 The party also agreed to work towards a
consensus government and, for the first time, put Bhattarai forward as its prime minister candidate. In some ways,
Prachanda had no choice; he himself was unacceptable to
many non-Maoists. But even with Bhattarai as prime minister, it would be Prachanda who led the peace process.
The Dhobighat alliance was never a long-term prospect:
Baidya and Bhattarai disagree on most issues and mistrust
each other. But Baidya, Badal and other dissenting leaders
probably expected more benefit than they received for endorsing Bhattarai.
At present, they sound like spoilers, clamouring mostly
for a role for themselves.54 Personal calculations and factional power plays are part of the equation, but deeper
questions are also at stake. The Maoist party faces its
most difficult challenge since its deal with the traditional
parliamentary parties in November 2005, and arguably
since the start ofthe war in 1996. It is a cliche that all the
Maoist leaders share the same goals, and Prachanda and
Bhattarai are simply playing a longer, more staged game
than Baidya would like. But a more fundamental question
is at stake. Having waged a war, ousted the king and entered parliamentary politics, the party must decide how
much of its agenda of federalism, recognition of ethnic
identities and reform of the Nepal Army it is willing to
dilute.55 These issues are about where the Maoist party is
going, but more broadly about the Maoists' self-image as
a movement and notjust a political formation.
There is some speculation of a split in the party. While
this is possible down the road, several factors work against
it now. There are few indications that a section ofthe PLA
and its affiliated political leadership are willing to go underground to resume the people's war. Further, although
there is a possibility of splitting decision-making bodies
ofthe party - the standing committee, politburo, central
committee, governing bodies ofthe various unions, regional fronts, etc. - it would be very difficult to split the
party's broad organisation and support base.56 These are
the elements the party mobilises with success at critical
moments, such as the May 2010 national shutdown. The
further down in the ranks one probes, the more cadres say
they want unity, rather than disagreement among their
leaders, especially on fundamental issues. Discontent with
the PLA regrouping process and the integration and retirement follow-on could change this, but at this time that
does not look likely. Combatants largely seem resigned,
even if resentful and concerned about their futures.
It is unclear what will satisfy the Baidya faction. In the
present context, its maximum gains would seem to be a
better deal on integration, a constitution that contains some
elements ofthe Maoist agenda, such as commitments to
land reform and federalism, accommodation in the government and an expansion of party responsibilities. The
faction still exerts some hold on critical sections of the
50 Crisis Group interview, researcher, Kathmandu, October 2011.
51 This is a diverse faction, driven by varied interests. For more,
see Crisis Group Briefing, Nepal's Fitful Peace Process, and
Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One, both op.
52 There are many media reports on the Maoist party's troubles.
For a detailed explanation of Kiran's position, see an interview
by Post Bahadur Basnet, "An end to violence ... through the
use of violence", Himal South Asian, October 2011.
53 See Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One,
op. cit.
See Crisis Group Briefing, Nepal's Fitful Peace Process, op.
55 For a sharp analysis see Aditya Adhikari, "All of us cannot
be right", The Kathmandu Post, 9 November 2011. For background, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal's Peace Agreement:
Making it Work, op. cit., and Crisis Group Asia Report N°132,
Nepal's Maoists; Purists or Pragmatists, 18 May 2007.
56 This paragraph is based on Crisis Group interviews, researcher, local journalist, Maoist party activists, PLA member, Kathmandu, August, October, November 2011, and via telephone
Chitwan and Surkhet, October 2011.
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Page 11
party and army and can make it more difficult for Prachanda and Bhattarai to implement major multi-party compromises. But to do any of this, it must either join this
government or destabilise it in the hope of having a greater influence in the next government. Simply opting out
does not seem feasible. Prachanda, who is firmly with
Bhattarai now, will need to bring them on board to move
ahead on the process, but also to diminish the personal
challenge Bhattarai's success poses to him. More switches
of allegiance across factions can be expected before the
leaders exhaust their options and are faced with a possibly
more serious prospect of a split.
The NC has been dealing with two problems, which feed
off each other. In negotiating the 1 November agreement
to move the formal peace process forward, the leadership
made a distinct switch from the obstructing, stalling and
backtracking of recent years. The promise it informally
received that it would lead the government in the period
between adoption of the new constitution and general
elections enabled this change. But the NC's other problem is its shattered unity. There will be many claimants
within the party for a piece of that government and who
will be willing to spoil the deal if they do not benefit from
it. In the most straight-forward reading, the factions led
by President Sushil Koirala and former Prime Minister
Sher Bahadur Deuba57 compete for control ofthe NC. They
disagree on who should represent the party in national
politics and, to a lesser degree, on how the party should
engage with the peace process.58
Membership of the factions is not static, and even the
staunchest supporters of Koirala and Deuba criticise their
respective leaders. The most striking complaint, heard with
increasing frequency, comes from the almost-but-not-quite
top figures, the "second generation". They say that the
top leaders monopolise all political opportunities and care
nothing about the future of anyone below them.59 This is
the nature of political careers in the NC, where party elections were never the way to advance. Until Girija Prasad
Koirala's death in 2010, decisions and individual influ-
Deuba precipitated a vertical split in the party in 2002 and
formed the Nepali Congress-Democratic (NC-D). The NC-D
re-united with the parent party in 2007. Deuba himself has been
prime minister three times, in 1995-1997,2001-2002 and2004-
2005; he was dismissed by King Gyanendra in his second term,
re-appointed by the king and again dismissed in the third.
58 For details of some of the fault lines within the NC, see Crisis Group Briefing, Nepal's Fitful Peace Process, op. cit.
59 Most "second-generation" leaders are already in their mid-
50s. This paragraph is based on Crisis Group interviews, prominent second-tier and younger NC leaders, Kathmandu, July-
October, 2011.
ence depended almost entirely on the ability to cultivate and
nourish patronage networks. Now, in the post-GP Koirala
NC, there is no clear hierarchy that can control these networks. The senior leaders are similar in age, political experience and history. In the absence of true seniority, there
are multiple contenders for all positions and an unease
with internal elections. There are also fewer resources to
control, as the NC miscalculated the cost to itself of focusing on slowing down the peace process, rather than rebuilding the party organisation.
How far President Sushil Koirala is willing to take his
leadership is an increasingly critical question. He had not,
until recently, displayed any interest in high political office, apparently being content with his party position. But
the last eighteen months have shown that if he is to consolidate his party position and manage Deuba and other
challengers, he needs to be able to offer more to his supporters in terms of party and government positions and
appear more decisive. He attempted to exert authority and
expand his influence by dissolving the elected central
committees ofthe NC's sister organisations, which are
dominated by Deuba's faction, but that did not go down
well.60 He appears now to have chosen a longer-term
strategy, namely to seek a greater role outside the party,
for instance as prime minister of an NC-led government.
This could help mobilise resources, prepare for the next
general election and boost the party's sagging morale.61 If
so, personal ambition may have helped break the party
away from its sclerotic approach to the peace process. Its
internal dynamics could slow, but not derail the process.
In September 2011, Koirala ordered the dissolution ofthe
central committees ofthe NC's youth wing, women's wing, indigenous people's wing and a dormant "military" wing. He did
this despite strong opposition from Deuba, who argued that the
committees should stay in place until fresh elections were held.
This was followed by high drama, as Deuba's faction went on a
hunger strike, and Deuba himself resigned. Koirala has not accepted his resignation and Deuba has taken no further steps.
61 Prachanda's reported offer to Koirala to be prime minister of
the transitional government to conduct the next election speaks
to Koirala's need to be seen as a national and not only NC leader
and dispense patronage. It also fits well with the NC's need to
contest the next election armed with all the benefits that accrue
from being in government and controlling the state. Koirala as
prime minister will not be an easy sell to the entire party. But
for the NC's second generation, which sees its political fortunes
dwindling, it is increasingly irrelevant whether Deuba or Koirala holds that position - as long as whoever it is accommodates
them. Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, August, September
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The Madhesi Morcha has re-established its relevance as a
united and fairly independent force in national politics
despite the fragmentation of its member parties.62 The
front received a boost in May 2011, when the other maj or
Madhesi force, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Nepal),
MJF-N, led by Upendra Yadav, went through another
split, and Jaya Prakash Gupta took twelve CA members
along to form the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Ganatan-
trik), MJF-G63 The new party joined the Morcha, which
finally gave the alliance the numbers to constitute a CA
majority in alliance with either the Maoists, or the NC
and UML. Their role in forming Bhattarai's government
strengthened them further. It was a considered reminder
to the NC that the Morcha was not to be taken for granted
and treated like a junior partner. It was also perhaps a
cautionary note to the Maoists to share well, if they wanted the government to last.64 The twelve ministerial portfolios allocated to Morcha leaders are some of the most
coveted, including home and physical planning, as well as
the curiously powerless but increasingly visible defence.
Beyond gains for leaders themselves, the unity displayed
by the Morcha parties since May has also reassured their
constituencies in the Tarai that ordinary people's concerns
and the demands ofthe 2007 Madhes movement remain
on the table.65 The challenge is to maintain this unity. The
For more on this, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: From Two
Armies to One, op. cit.
63 At the same time, another significant Madhesi political figure,
Mahendra Yadav ofthe Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (Nepal)
(TMLP-N) also split but, like its parent party, remained a member ofthe Morcha. The original MJF had emerged as a powerful force ahead of the 2007 Madhes Andolan, making greater
inclusion a new pillar of the peace process and becoming the
fourth largest party after the 2008 CA election. But the closeness of its leader, Upendra Yadav, to the Maoists was not appreciated by many of his colleagues, including Bijay Gachha-
dar, who split in mid-2009 to support the Madhav Nepal-led
government after Prachanda resigned. Gachhadar formed the
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik), or MJF(L). The original
"Forum", as it is popularly called, now has only twelve of its
original 54 CA members, is called MJF (Nepal) and is not part
of the Madhesi Morcha.
64 Crisis Group interviews, Madhesi party leader, Kathmandu,
October, 2011.
65 The uprising in the Tarai changed the nature of the peace
process and brought greater inclusion to centre stage. Until early
2007, the process had been first about Maoists and parliamentary parties ousting the king and then about the Maoists and
traditional parties seeking an uneasy accommodation with each
other. After the Madhes Andolan, or Madhes Movement, the
Tarai became a significant and distinct factor in politics, and
inclusion and federalism became as central to the peace process
as integration of the PLA. Many senior Madhesi members of
structure of Madhesi parties and the ways in which they
operate put little premium on organisational unity.66 Like
the other major parties, the members ofthe Madhesi Morcha must also handle multiple tensions within and between
the parties and their leaders. This was highlighted by the
fraught exercise of dividing up the government ministries.
There are strong incentives to maintain a joint bargaining
front on the peace process and power-sharing until elections
and in the face ofthe continued questioning of Madhesi
leaders' nationalist credentials and probity.67 The alliance
now is with the Maoists, but the Madhesi parties also know
that, fundamentally, their ability to stick together will gain
them more than any specific alliance with other parties.
"We join a non-Maoist government, we get called dirty
[anti-national and corrupt]. We join a Maoist government,
we get called dirty. If we stay out of government, no doubt
we will again be called dirty", a senior Madhesi leader
said. "Yet none ofthe other parties are tarnished by their
association with us. So we will just keep doing what we
do".68 The Madhesi parties will play a major role in the
federalism discussions and will continue to bring up both
the matter of recruitment into the Nepal Army and the
still not introduced bill on inclusion.
The faction of the UML led by Jhala Nath Khanal and
that had until recently been consistently for engagement
with the Maoists has lost any edge it once had over the
more conservative anti-Maoist elements ofthe party led
by KP Sharma Oli and former Prime Minister Madhav
Kumar Nepal.69 This is partly the result ofthe Maoists'
willingness to allow Khanal to fall from the post of prime
minister. But future direction, rather than factional dynamics, is the real problem in the UML, which consecutively
the NC, in particular, split from the party to form or join new
Madhes-based parties.
66 For an excellent overview over the last three major splits and
their underlying causes, see Prashant Jha, "The great Madhesi
mushrooming", The Kathmandu Post, 20 July 2011.
67 Another criticism of Madhesi parties has been that they are
deeply corrupt and participate in government merely to loot the
state. Yet, all other parties' stints in government have been
marked by corruption scandals and credible allegations of
nepotism, and some members of traditional parties also benefit
from their association with NGOs which might receive funds
from donors. Most parties at the local level benefit from tenders
for development projects. Alleged corruption, direct or indirect,
comes in many forms and occurs at many levels. It is difficult
to judge accurately how much better or worse any one party is.
See Crisis Group Asia Report N° 194, Nepal's Political Rites of
Passage, 29 September 2010.
68 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, December 2011.
69 For more on the UML' s factional dynamics, see Crisis Group
Briefing, Nepal's Fitful Peace Process, op. cit.
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 13
headed anti-Maoist and Maoist-backed governments. The
current government is the first in five years the UML has
not been a part of, but that is not entirely the result of either
judgment or ideology. For the first time, both factions happen to be on the same side ofthe right-left divide in the
party. Khanal's shift comes out of pique with the Maoists.
Oli's credibility in mainstream Kathmandu politics is in
decline, although he remains a potentially significant figure,
while Nepal takes a wavering middle position.70 Unlike
the NC, which is already working to improve its chances
in the next election and has held some public rallies during
the year, the UML has not yet begun to improve its organisational strength or activities.
There is a renewed sense of urgency and opportunity among
the conservative traditional political parties, as constitution writing gains momentum, and the May 2012 deadline
starts to look unmovable. The three major conservative
parties, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal),
RPP(N), are attempting to unite, hoping to regain political
relevance.71 All three call for a referendum on federalism
and secularism. The RPP-N has been holding out for a
return to constitutional monarchy but is likely to change
its stance after the new constitution is adopted. There is
some popular demand for a conservative agenda minus the
king. Many view recent constitutional changes as an attack
on their traditional vision of Nepali national identity, and
a portion of the population is critical of secularism and
identity-based federalism.72 However, just as the Maoists
Nepal is no longer as virulently anti-Maoist as he was while
in government, for example. Oli was sometimes suggested in
early 2011 as the president's prime minister, if there were to be
a state of emergency. Few mainstream democratic politicians in
the NC, for example, would have been comfortable taking that
post, even if they thought president's rule was the only way to
cut the Maoists down to size.
71 "Talks to unify RPP, RJP, RPP(N) inconclusive", Republica,
17 November 2011. For previous Crisis Group reporting on
conservative parties, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity
Politics and Federalism, op. cit. The RPP has eight seats in the
CA, the RJP three and the RPP(N) four. The RJP and RPP(N)
split off from the RPP in 2005 and 2008.
72 Opinion polls are of necessity limited, and there can be various approaches to framing questions, but, for example, in a survey conducted by Himalmediain2010,36.3 per cent of respondents were opposed to federalism and only 27.2 per cent were in
favour. In the same survey, 52.2 per cent of the respondents
wanted Nepal restored to a Hindu state. "Rashtriya sarvekshan-
2067", Himal Khabarpatrika, 29 April-14 May 2010. In the
Himalmedia survey of 2011, 76 per cent of respondents opposed identity-based federalism. "Himal janamat 2068: Sang-
hiyata ra shasanpranali", Himal Khabarpatrika, 15-29 May
2011. For an argument that says "secularism" as an ideology
have had to compromise on significant parts oftheir agenda, conservative parties will also have to compromise, for
example by signing on to some sort of federalism.
A range of activist groups exists on the pro- and anti-federalism ends ofthe political spectrum. Some are more militant than others and have occasionally resorted to violence.
On the right wing, the landscape includes Hindu revival
groups as well as upper caste Brahmin and Chhetri groups
and networks who are against federalism. These agendas
sometimes overlap. All say they are building organisational strength and waiting for concrete constitutional decisions
around which to mobilise.73 Hindutva groups opposed to
secularism, such as the Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh and Shiv
Sena Nepal, adopt a similar wait and see approach but also
raise the issue of Christian proselytising.74 There are few
indications of active expansion or the growth of more
militant activism. A number of right-wing underground
groups proclaim they are ready to use violence. Their capacity to do so is unclear but at this point appears to be
limited to isolated terrorist attacks.75 The significance of
impedes the "secularisation" of Nepali society, see Dipak
Gyawali, "Nepali secularism and its discontents", Spotlight, 9-
22 December 2011.
73 The most prominent Chhetri organisations are the Chhetri
Samaj Nepal (CSN), the Khas Chhetri Ekata Samaj Adivasi/
Janajati (KCES) and the Khas Chhetri Samaj Rashtriya Mahasangh. The Mahasangh's agenda centres on the perceived threat
to Chhetri identity and, by correlation, Nepali nationalism. The
CSN and KCES's priority is to have Khas Chhetris classified as
indigenous; the CSN pressured the government to establish a
taskforce in August 2011 to study this claim. "Karyadal gho-
shana, mahasanghko vevastha", Punarjagaran, 2 August 2011.
The CSN and the KCES, both more moderate than the Mahasangh, oppose ethnic federalism while the Mahasangh also demands a restoration of the Hindu state. The Mahasangh has
forged a strategic alliance with the Brahmin Samaj. "Chhetris,
Brahmins demand indigenous status", The Himalayan Times
online, 15 November 2011. For previous Crisis Group reporting
on Chhetri groups, see Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity
Politics and Federalism, op. cit.
74 Crisis Group interview, Hindutva activists, Banke, May
2011. Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, November 2011.
75 The explosion of a small bomb in front of the Kathmandu
office of the United Mission to Nepal (UMN), a Christian development organisation, in November 2011 was accompanied
by pamphlets ofthe Nepal Defence Army. "Bomb goes off in
front of UMN office", The Kathmandu Post, 23 November
2011. The NDA was responsible for bomb attacks on mosques
and churches in 2008 and 2009, one of which killed three people. The group had been inactive since the arrest of its leader
R.P. Mainali, and it is unclear whether the recent explosion
points at a possible resurgence. Most other militant right wing
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 14
these conservative networks will only become clear once
the constitutional debate reaches a decisive phase, but violent attacks by small, isolated fringe groups remain a risk.
Some indigenous groups, particularly in the eastern hills
espouse a maximalist, ethnic-based federalism agenda.76
The larger and more publicly organised groups include the
Federal Limbuwan State Councils, one led by Kumar Ling-
den, the other led by Sanjuhang Palungwa, and Khambu-
wan Rastriya Morcha (KRM). Leaders now say they are
confident the new federal structure will recognise identity
but warn they will "burn the new constitution in the streets
if it is not".77 These groups have sometimes called for
preferential political and other rights for indigenous communities in their homelands. But this demandhas less and
less traction in negotiations in Kathmandu, as the mainstream parties attempt to balance the multi-ethnic composition of most of the proposed new provinces with the
demand for broader representation.
Affirmative action and quotas, instead of exclusionary
preferential rights, are one possible outcome, but this is yet
to be negotiated. The ability of these groups to mobilise is
significant, despite their fractured organisational landscape.
For the mainstream Limbuwan groups, at least, mobilisation is more likely to take the form of protests than targeted violent attacks.78
There is no clarity on how critical commitments, including democratisation ofthe Nepal Army,79 land reform and
groups have shown little signs of activity beyond issuing pamphlets. For previous reporting, see Crisis Group Asia Report
N°194, Nepal's Political Rites of Passage, 29 September 2010.
76 For an overview of Limbuwan and Khambuwan groups, see
Crisis Group Report, Nepal: Identity Politics and Federalism,
op. cit.
77 Crisis Group interview, senior leader, Federal Limbuwan
State Council (Palungwa), FLSC(P), November 2011. Crisis
Group interviews, Kathmandu, Jhapa, June, July, November
2011. Both FLSCs demand a federal Limbuwan state composed
of nine eastern districts. The KRM demands a Khambuwan state
of ethnic Kiranti communities, including Rai, Limbu, Yakkha
and others. See ibid.
78 Smaller radical groups are capable of isolated violent attacks.
For example, the fringe Khumbuwan Samyukta Jatiya Morcha
claimed responsibility for an explosion in the eastern Tarai
town of Itahari that injured five people. "Police, four others injured in blast",, 3 December 2011.
79 If anything, the independence ofthe NA is being reinforced.
The democratisation clause left out of the 1 November agreement; the original integration plan came from NA headquarters;
and some top brass were consulted during the Maoist-NC nego-
formation ofthe commissions on enforced disappearance
and truth and reconciliation will be met. This last is most
significant now.
The Bhattarai government has made a number of controversial moves on the question of impunity. The Maoist-
Morcha agreement includes a clause to withdraw court
cases related to political protests and movements based
on "justifiable grievances".80 This met with widespread
criticism in Kathmandu. Then, for the first time, a minister accused of murder was forced to resign,81 while a second has been accused in a murder case human rights activists consider "emblematic".82 Finally, the cabinet recommended to President Ram Baran Yadav that he pardon
a Maoist party member sentenced to life in prison for
murder; the Supreme Court barred the move.83 A remark
tiations. The army, which after integration could be more than
100,000-strong, is also proposing for itself a significant restructuring to increase the number of mid- and higher-ranking officers.
Its budget grows annually, although no weapons have been procured since 2006. The new directorate that will accommodate
the integrated Maoist combatants will be paid for by a separate
budget, not that ofthe defence ministry. For proposed actions
that could start the democratisation and down-sizing process,
including appointment of a national security body to negotiate
the basic tenets of Nepal's security policy and the offer of voluntary retirement to reduce bloat in the institution, see Crisis
Group Report, Nepal: From Two Armies to One, op. cit.
80 For the views of an NC member and a Maoist lawyer, see
"Experts poles apart on conflict-era cases", The Kathmandu
Post, 21 September 2011.
81 Maoist Minister Prabhu San was withdrawn from the cabinet
under pressure from the opposition when a murder charge was
filed against him in Birgunj for his alleged involvement in the
killing of a Hindu activist in 2010. "In the eye ofthe storm: San
quits...", The Kathmandu Post, 17 October 2011. Under the
previous government, a central-level Maoist leader, Agni Sapkota, also accused in an emblematic human rights case that includes torture and murder, was appointed as minister. He resigned, though as part of a broader cabinet reshuffle. "Mahara,
Sapkota call it quits", The Kathmandu Post, 27 July 2011.
82 Suryaman Dong, an accused in the same case as Sapkota, is a
state minister in the current government. "Dong's appointment
as minister raises hackles", The Kathmandu Post, 7 November
83 "Dhungel pardon plea: To pardon or not to pardon, Prez ponders", The Kathmandu Post, 13 November 2011. In blocking
the pardon, the Supreme Court said that a petition demanding
execution of its verdict sentencing Dhungel to life imprisonment
was sub judice, that the government's move could impinge on
judicial processes in the future, and that the government was
undermining a court ruling. Bhattarai is undoubtedly under
pressure to assure cadres that they will not be subject to criminal prosecution for war-time actions. Some ofthe accused, such
as Sapkota and San, are major organisers in the party. There are
also hundreds of cases against Bhattarai, Prachanda and other
senior Maoist leaders. Many are of dubious legal merit, but there
is a pervasive fear in the party that leaders will be dragged to
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 15
by the newly-appointed attorney general saying categorically that all politically-motivated cases would be withdrawn reinforced the impression that within the political
elite there is an almost wilful disregard for principles of
justice.84 "All political parties have become like agencies
granting licences to commit crimes", said a leading human
rights lawyer.85 The government's moves come alongside
a re-commitment ofthe parties in the 1 November agreement to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
and a disappearances commission. These would in theory
determine standards and procedures for handling a variety
of questions. There is not yet consensus on what marks a
crime as politically motivated and who is to judge that.
There is also no agreement on whether allegations or cases
will simply be dropped or will be investigated, with pardons then to be recommended for at least some perpetrators. New rules will have to be devised for cases involving
NA personnel, most of whom have hitherto been subject
only to military justice, which in effect has amounted to
total impunity. Victims and their families are in some
places still unable even to file a basic report at the local
police station due to political pressure.86
Although the opposition will use the recent actions as a
stick to beat the government, the issue is not being pursued out of conviction or adherence to the ideal of democratic justice. No parties or leaders are keen to have their
own war-time responsibilities and actions - or in some
instances present connections with criminal networks -
scrutinised. Every government and virtually every significant actor during the conflict and after has shielded an
alleged law breaker at some point, used violence against
political opponents, withdrawn cases after having unilaterally declared them politically motivated or pressured
the criminal justice system to prevent victims from pursuing cases.87
the International Criminal Court. Crisis Group interviews, national human rights activists, international observers, Maoist
party member, Kathmandu, October, November, December 2011.
84 "AG discloses plan to retract cases", Republica, 15 September 2011.
85 The lawyer also noted that parties tried to similarly recommend withdrawal of cases or pardons in instances where there
was not a clear political component. Crisis Group interview,
Kathmandu, September 2011.
86 Crisis Group interview, national human rights activist, Kathmandu, October 2011.
87 The instances are legion. The UML, then the ruling party,
was widely seen as protecting Parshuram Basnet, accused of
violently attacking a journalist in June 2011. Basnet is a central
figure in the party's Youth Force. "Parshuram Basnet in city",
The Himalayan Times, 19 July 2011. Days before the 2008 CA
election, seven Maoist workers were killed in Dang, allegedly
unprovoked, by Armed Police Force personnel accompanying
former Home Minister and NC leader Khum Bahadur Khadka.
Maoist leaders quote the CPA, which allows for withdrawal of politically-motivated cases, and the interim constitution, which allows pardons. The other political parties focus on individual actions instead of facing up to the more
difficult issue of how justice and reparations for abuses
during the war are to be implemented. The Nepal Army,
for its part, is lobbying for cases against its personnel to
be dropped or terminated by pardons, and the government
appears to be happy to extend the favour.88
The national and international human rights communities
focus on prosecutions for emblematic cases, which fulfils
the critical need to show that justice is possible, and impunity can be challenged. This does not always dovetail
entirely with the priorities of victims, particularly the many
whose cases are not emblematic. Their concerns often
focus more on reparations and on wanting to know what
happened to disappeared kin, for example.89 These concerns need not be mutually exclusive, and the challenge
facing the proposed TRC will be to balance various preferred outcomes.
Ad hoc pardons and withdrawal of cases are unhelpful in
this context and in some cases illegal. These cannot be
unilateral decisions, and the TRC should not be a tool for
the political elite to simply sweep war-time abuses under
the carpet in the name of reconciliation. There must be
consultation between all political parties, the human rights
community and victims about the principles underlying
categorisation of cases as politically motivated and how
best to address the parallel priorities of tackling impunity,
"Five Maoists killed in police firing",, 8 April
2008. GP Koirala's government in 2007 appointed Rookman-
gad Katawal as chief of army staff, although he was recommended for prosecution by the Rayamajhi Commission investigating abuses by the then-Royal Nepal Army during the 2006
Jana Andolan (People's Movement). Damakant Jayshi, "Let
Katawal, Khadka retire on time",, 16 June
2009. Governments, including one led by GP Koirala after the
1990 People's Movement also withdrew a number of cases,
deeming them politically motivated. South Asia Forum for Human Rights, "Impunity inNepal", There are multiple
accounts from human rights activists of the challenges facing
families even now, who wish to file cases concerning war-time
abuses including torture and murder.
88 Crisis Group interview, journalist, December 2011. Prime
Minister Bhattarai has said, defending the Dhungel pardon, that
similarly there would be no prosecutions of Nepal Army personnel found responsible in the emblematic Bhairabnath case,
which involves torture and the enforced disappearance of 49
suspected Maoists from the Bhairabnath Battalion in Kathmandu in 2003. Interview with Bhusan Dahal, "Fireside", Kantipur
TV, 15 November 2011.
89 See, for example, Simon Robins, "Transitional justice as an
elite discourse: Human rights practice between the global and
the local in post-conflict Nepal", Critical Asian Studies (forthcoming).
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 16
ensuring stability and effectively addressing legitimate
calls for compensation.
There has been little talk of reconciliation so far. All concerned persons in Kathmandu, whether political party members or human rights defenders, will have to make difficult choices. If their conclusion is that the most achievable
goal now is a handful of convictions on both sides, while
other cases are put away for the time being, then that is
what will happen. But this would not necessarily be what
victims want. Nor would it send a strong message that the
parties have truly tried to reconcile the different political
outlooks and tactics ofthe war or that the criminal justice
system can be reformed.
Despite naysayers and sceptics, the peace process is finally moving forward in substantial ways and remains relevant and essential. Much ofthe slowdown had its roots
in resentment and missed opportunities. The NC felt betrayed by the shifts on the Maoists of both New Delhi and
the Madhesi parties, two constituencies it had perhaps
taken for granted. Yet, it is now looking forward. Large
sections ofthe UML feel similarly. A serious dynamic of
resentment and betrayal is also still at play inside the
Maoist party. The recent realignments hold difficult but
salutary reminders for all actors engaged in Nepal, namely
that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics
and that in a democratic dispensation of coalition politics,
such as Nepal now has, fault lines shift, and polarisation
between individuals and parties is not static.
The peace process commitments made by the parties are
already, in some cases deeply, compromised. But stripping the process down to its bare bones - some sort of
integration, a cobbled-together constitution and no institutional reform - would not help build a lasting peace. As
the parties negotiate federalism, in particular, they must
remember that settling matters between Kathmandu's political elite is insufficient. The idea of federalism and recognition of identity has taken on a life of its own and is the
single most important issue for many ordinary citizens.
Outside the capital, identity-based groups have been mobilising for some time. The social polarisation can easily
be sharpened. Both in and beyond Kathmandu political
leaders and civil society of all hues need to resist the easy
lure of hard lines and exclusivist nationalism. This will be
difficult, as traditional arrangements of power are disturbed
and doors close on options, but it is essential. Politicians
must be alert to the dangers of abandoning the promises
they made to the Nepali people of a deep transformation
ofthe state.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 13 December 2011
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Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 17
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 Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 18
Constituent Assembly - unicameral body
tasked with drafting a new constitution,
also serves as legislature-parliament.
Comprehensive Peace Agreement -
November 2006 agreement officially
ending the decade-long war, signed between the government of Nepal and the
Maoists, then called the Communist
Party of Nepal-Maoist. The Maoists are
now officially called the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist.
Chhetri Samaj Nepal - organisation of
upper caste Chhetris founded in Pokhara
in 1996, its main agenda is recognition
of Khas Chhetris as an indigenous group.
Federal Limbuwan State Council
(Palungwa) - grassroots mobilisation
group in eastern Nepal that demands a
"Limbuwan" autonomous state based
on territory historically significant to
the Limbu ethnic group. FLSC(P), led
by Sanjuhang Palungwa, was originally
the FLSC.
Federal Limbuwan State Council
(Lingden) - grassroots mobilisation
group in eastern Nepal that demands a
"Limbuwan" autonomous state based
on territory historically significant to
the Limbu ethnic group. FLSC(L), led
by Kumar Lingden, split from the
FLSC in 2008.
First Past the Post - an electoral system
in which the candidate with the most
votes in a constituency, not necessarily
a majority, wins.
Khambuwan Rastriya Morcha - grassroots mobilisation group representing
Kiranti communities, particularly Rai,
which demands an autonomous state in
the proposed federal system.
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Gana-
tantrik) - party formed by Jaya Prakash
Gupta when he and other members split
from the MJF(N) in May 2011.
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) - party formed by Bijaya Gac-
cahdar when he and other members
split from the MJF in 2009.
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Nepal) -
MJF faction under the leadership of
original chairman, Upendra Yadav.
Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha
- alliance of five Madhesi parties,
MJF(L), MJF(G), Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP), TMLP(N) and
Sadbhavana Party. Its primary agenda
is federalism and more equitable representation of Madhesis in state institutions. Does not include MJF(N) and
Sanghiya Sadbhavana Party, two other
significant Madhesi parties.
Nepal Army, until 2006 the Royal
Nepal Army.
Nepali Congress - second largest party
in the CA and a major traditional player
in democratic politics.
Nepali Congress (Democratic) - NC
faction established by Sher Bahadur
Deuba in 2002 after the NC rejected his
decision to ask the king to dissolve parliament. The NC(D) reunited with the
NC in 2007.
Nepal Defence Army - pro-Hindu
armed group that has taken responsibility for several attacks on mosques,
churches and Christian organisations
and individuals.
People's Liberation Army - army ofthe
Maoist party, which fought the state for
ten years.
Rastriya Janashakti Party - conservative party led by former monarchy-era
Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa,
split from the RPP in November 2005
and now in merger talks with RPP and
Rastriya Prajatantra Party - conservative party led by Pashupati SJB Rana,
now in merger talks with RJP and
Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal) - only party in the CA that demands restoration of the monarchy, also demands
referendum on secularism and federalism; led by Kamal Thapa; split from
RPP in 2008 but now in merger talks
with RPP and RJP.
South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation - organisation of South
Asian nations comprising Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (Nepal)
- formed by Mahendra Yadav when he
split from the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik
Party in December 2010.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission -
entity to be established under the CPA
and interim constitution, tasked with
investigating human rights violations
and crimes against humanity during the
civil war.
Unified Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist), or just Maoists - largest party
in the CA, came above ground at the
end of the war in 2006.
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified
Marxist-Leninist) - third largest party
in the CA.
UN Development Programme.
UN Mission in Nepal - UN's political
mission to support Nepal's peace process from 2007-2011.
 Nepal's Peace Process: The Endgame Nears
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°131, 13 December 2011
Page 19
The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, with some
130 staff members on five continents, working through
field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and
resolve deadly conflict.
Crisis Group's approach is grounded in field research. Teams
of political analysts are located within or close by countries
at risk of outbreak, escalation or recurrence of violent conflict.
Based on information and assessments from the field, it produces analytical reports containing practical recommendations targeted at key international decision-takers. Crisis
Group also publishes CrisisWatch, a twelve-page monthly
bulletin, providing a succinct regular update on the state of
play in all the most significant situations of conflict or
potential conflict around the world.
Crisis Group's reports and briefing papers are distributed
widely by email and made available simultaneously on the
website, Crisis Group works closely
with governments and those who influence them, including
the media, to highlight its crisis analyses and to generate
support for its policy prescriptions.
The Crisis Group Board - which includes prominent figures
from the fields of politics, diplomacy, business and the
media - is directly involved in helping to bring the reports
and recommendations to the attention of senior policy-makers
around the world. Crisis Group is chaired by former U.S.
Ambassador Thomas Pickering. Its President and Chief
Executive since July 2009 has been Louise Arbour, former
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chief
Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the
former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.
Crisis Group's international headquarters are in Brussels,
with major advocacy offices in Washington DC (where it is
based as a legal entity) and New York, a smaller one in
London and liaison presences in Moscow and Beijing.
The organisation currently operates nine regional offices
(in Bishkek, Bogota, Dakar, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta,
Nairobi, Pristina and Tbilisi) and has local field representation in fourteen additional locations (Baku, Bangkok,
Beirut, Bujumbura, Damascus, Dili, Jerusalem, Kabul, Kathmandu, Kinshasa, Port-au-Prince, Pretoria, Sarajevo and
Seoul). Crisis Group currently covers some 60 areas of
actual or potential conflict across four continents. In Africa,
this includes Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Chad, Cote d'lvoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia,
Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan,
Uganda and Zimbabwe; in Asia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh,
Burma/Myanmar, Indonesia, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz
stan, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka,
Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; in Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia,
Russia (North Caucasus), Serbia and Turkey; in the Middle
East and North Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Gulf States, Iran,
Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria
and Yemen; and in Latin America and the Caribbean, Bolivia,
Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti and Venezuela.
Crisis Group receives financial support from a wide range of
governments, institutional foundations, and private sources.
The following governmental departments and agencies have
provided funding in recent years: Australian Agency for
International Development, Australian Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, Austrian Development Agency, Belgian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Canadian International Development Agency, Canadian International Development and
Research Centre, Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canada, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Danish
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, European Commission, Finnish Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, German Federal
Foreign Office, Irish Aid, Japan International Cooperation
Agency, Principality of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand Agency for International
Development, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International
Development Agency, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs,
Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Turkish Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, United Kingdom Department for International Development, United Kingdom Economic and Social Research
Council, U.S. Agency for International Development.
The following institutional and private foundations have provided funding in recent years: Carnegie Corporation of New
York, The Charitable Foundation, Clifford Chance Foundation, Connect U.S. Fund, The Elders Foundation, Henry Luce
Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Humanity
United, Hunt Alternatives Fund, Jewish World Watch, Korea
Foundation, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Institute, Victor Pinchuk Foundation,
Ploughshares Fund, Radcliffe Foundation, Sigrid Rausing
Trust, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and VIVA Trust.
December 2011
Crisis Group
International Headquarters
149 Avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels, Belgium • Tel: +32 2 502 90 38 • Fax: +32 2 502 50 38
Email: brussels(@,
New York Office
420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 2640, New York 10170 • Tel: +1 212 813 0820 • Fax: +1 212 813 0825
Email: newvork(
Washington Office
1629 K Street, Suite 450, Washington DC 20006 • Tel: +1 202 785 1601 • Fax: +1 202 785 1630
London Office
48 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT • Tel: +44 20 7831 1436 • Fax: +44 20 7242 8135
Moscow Office
Kutuzovskiy prospect 36, Building 41, Moscow 121170 Russia • Tel: +7-926-232-6252
Email: moscow(@,
Regional Offices and Field Representation
Crisis Group also operates out of over 25 different locations in Africa,
Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
See for details.


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