Nepal: Are peace talks possible?
Daman Nath Dhungana: Not as long as the king rules and not until power is handed over to people's representatives.
But the king says that he will hand over his authority after elections?
Who's going to hold the elections: the king's loyalists, relatives, ex-Panchayat leaders? If the king really is keen on elections, why would he push the democratic parties so far away from him?
Maybe he's trying to solve the insurgency first?
The question is, who is the army fighting for if not the citizens? People are dying like mice. The king has been moving ahead with the attitude of 'I am the state and it belongs to me'. The problem would not have reached such a scale if only the constituent assembly was agreed upon in Hapure (during the second round of peace talks).
Why the need for a constituent assembly?
This means that the people can frame their own constitution and decide where to place the king. The alternative would be a republic. Democracy does not need a monarchy.
The king could gain legitimacy once he solves the Maoist problem.
Times have changed. Are we the only ones who protest the king? What about Nepal's own friendly nations? Nepal's monarchy is no longer a symbol of nationalism and national unity.
It is said that the Maoists are using the political parties to start one-party rule?
Not possible. We will not agree to cooperate unless they opt for multiparty democracy. The talks and giving up arms will go hand in hand. They have to win our trust by adhering to their promise that they will respect multiparty democracy. Unless that happens, we will not agree to have talks with them.
How about third party mediation?
It is India who has to be involved. Without India's mediation the problem will not be solved.
Won't India place its own vested interest first?
We also have to look after our own interests. India's interest will not be different from ours. It can't move ahead by pushing Nepal aside.
That is what the king says. Is there any country where people failed after emperors, kings and maharajas left? The Indians managed quite well after the British quit. The people will be capable