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ANALYSIS by KUNDA DIXIT


The fast-paced developments of the past week with the Maoists resigning over their sacking of the army chief presents us with another opportunity to get the peace process and constitution drafting back on track.

The row has now gone beyond just civilian supremacy over the army, with the Shaktikkhor Tape confirming a Maoist gameplan for total state capture. The end game in that strategy seems to have been replacing the army chief with a friendlier general.

However much Dahal's party may try to explain away the tape the fact is that he has admitted deceiving the UN and everyone else on guerilla numbers and about his commitment to the democratic process. The party's actions after the resignation, the show of force on the streets with threats against the NC and UML just confirm Dahal's words spoken to his forces and recorded on tape two years ago.

Dahal has cloaked himself in a martyr complex with his resignation, but the international community and other parties are now going to take what he says with an even bigger pinch of salt.

However, it may be better for this country to have the Maoists in government than outside it playing perpetual victim. Which is why this crisis provides us with another chance to start afresh to cobble together a national government in which the Maoists, NC and UML try a tie-up that eluded them nine months ago.

That best-case scenario may be too optimistic, however, because the trust gap between the Maoists and the others is now so great. Also, the pound of flesh the comrades want in return for joining the government (presidential apology and Katawal removal) are no-no's for the other parties.

The other likely line-up is a MJF-Maoist combine, which would be like reshuffling the deck. And the UML staying in the opposition with the NC may be a better counterbalance to Maoist extremism in government.

The third option is a UML-NC led coalition. The trouble with this is that it is sure to have the same tired old faces who are even less likely than the Maoists to deliver.

All this is unlikely to be decided by the presidential deadline on Saturday. Whichever coalition is put together, the new government has to get to work immediately: accelerate the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist forces, crank up the constitution-drafting process and address the country's economic and development emergency. A consensus national government would be the only one that can address those daunting challenges.

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LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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