The present situation is triangular and competitive. The rivalry between the king and the political parties has eased. Responding to foreign pressure, the two big parties have toned down their movement to forge unity among constitutional forces. On the other hand, unlike during the Chand government, the members of the present cabinet don't seem to be able to agree on who should be the next prime minister.
The parties did not receive the kind of support that they expected from the people because their leaders prioritised power over peace. Activists may have participated wholeheartedly in the movement but the people chose to stay away. This tussle between the palace and the parties has only benefited the Maoists.
The need of the hour is an agreement between the king and parliamentary parties, and after that they have to collectively hold dialogue with the Maoists. A timetable is needed to sequence these measures. If parliament is reinstated, the Maoists will not be present. If a government is formed only with parliamentary forces, it will keep the Maoists out. Since they have consolidated power in rural areas with their own army and a parallel government, keeping the Maoists out of the mainstream will not lead to a longterm solution.
At this critical time, the king, as the head of the state, should call an all-party conference to work on a basic national program and form a government on the basis of national unity. That government should hold whatever kind of election the conference agrees on. Either the Maoists will convince the parties on the necessity of a constituent assembly or the parties will make the rebels believe that constitutional amendments will
do for now. If they still have differences, it could be resolved through a referendum on an improved constitution or a constituent assembly.
Civil society has to be active as the fourth force in the country. And we need help from our neighbours. Friendly countries should help us build an environment instead of interfering Nepal's internal business. We also need foreign aid for the people displaced by war, and it is desirable for the United Nations to monitor the ceasefire. If elections are held, the world body can act as a watchdog to see that everything runs smoothly. We should opt for the UN rather than other nation-states.