Since it was passed amid deadly protests in September 2015, Nepal’s new constitution has deepened ethnic, social and political fractures. The country’s national parties and protesting groups need to find ways to address constitutional disagreements and underlying disputes. There is a clear risk of escalating violence unless all sides understand that without compromise and good faith Nepal faces an existential threat.
Nepal’s major political parties must urgently agree on a roadmap to negotiate on federalism and write the new constitution, whether by holding elections to a new Constituent Assembly or reviving the previous body.
With the future of the Maoist combatants finally settled, Nepal’s peace process has gained momentum after a long stalemate, but challenges remain, particularly the design of a new federal state and evolving coalition and factional dynamics of the parties.
Nepal’s Maoist combatants urgently need to be integrated into the national security forces and rehabilitated or retired to consolidate the peace process.
The parties to Nepal’s fitful peace process have less than eight weeks to agree on integration of Maoist combatants and federalism before the term of the Constituent Assembly elected to draft a new constitution expires.
Federal restructuring of the state has emerged as an important commitment in Nepal’s constitutional process. If the constitution is not promulgated in time or a decision on federalism is deferred, serious unrest could follow.
Nepal is experiencing neither revolution, nor anarchy, nor chaos. It is in the midst of a complex rite of passage.
Nepal’s peace process is undermined by the failure to address the systematic crimes committed during the country’s conflict.
Nepal’s peace process is in danger of collapse. The fall of the Maoist-led government, a mess largely of the Maoists’ own making, was a symptom of the deeper malaise underlying the political settlement.