There are two dates to look out for in 2011: January 15, when UNMIN's mandate expires, and May 28, the extended deadline for the new constitution.
It's easy to see what we need:
* Peace, a constitution that guarantees constitutional supremacy, pluralism, multi-party democracy, independence of the judiciary, and media freedom
* A coalition government that will facilitate the CA's writing of the constitution, and hold general and local elections
How we get there is the question. The mistrust is more severe within the political parties than between them. Nepalis are thoroughly disappointed, and can only hope that better sense prevails in 2011. Hardliners within the Maoists have forced an official change in the party's goals to go for a 'people's revolt', instead of peace and the constitution, adding more uncertainty.
The CA has hardly anything to show for its yearlong extension. The political will to draft and promulgate the constitution in time is sorely lacking.
Fortunately, there is a way out of this impasse. It lies in the future of the Maoist ex-combatants. The majority of the Nepali people, the political parties, and above all the ex-combatants themselves, want integration and rehabilitation resolved. The only people who want to leave this unresolved, at least for now, are Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and the hardline faction led by Mohan Baidya. Which is why the ex-combatants have accused Dahal of using them as pawns.
It is thought that half the combatants would want to integrate with the army or police, that is nearly 10,000 fighters. Once a credible mechanism is put in place, a coalition government under the leadership of the Maoist Party could be the next step. Before the winter session of parliament that starts 9 January, the parties should prove to the people that they are still capable of delivering on peace and the constitution.
EDITORIAL: Looking back, moving on
An exclusive interview with Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal