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Nepal crisis

The long-running and crisis-prone Nepali peace process was lurching into a new danger phase as PN went to press, with plans for the election of a new prime minister – in parliament, not through a general election, on 28 August. Jhalanath Khanal resigned on 15 August, after only six months in office, three weeks before the constituent assembly (which doubles as a parliament) was due to wind up.

According to the November 2006 comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), the constituent assembly was meant to have written a new constitution for the country by May 2010, and the government was meant to have integrated former Maoist guerrillas into the security forces, permanently ending the 10-year civil war.

The fate of 19,000 former guerrillas, still living in government camps, is still uncertain. At the time of going to press, it was reported that the Maoist leadership were demanding that 7,000-8,000 of the former combatants be integrated into the army, with combat missions or on border patrol. One of the other two main parties, Congress, was insisting on far fewer soldiers (4,000-6,000) with non-combat roles.

40 former Maoist child soldiers were arrested on 8 August after a protest demanding better government training to help them reintegrate into civilian life. A five-day “relay sit-in” started in front of the constituent assembly on 25 August, aiming to put pressure on political parties for lasting peace and a new democratic constitution.

Topics: Nepal