Talking to Nepal’s Speaker of the Interim Legislative Subash Newang, US Ambassador to Nepal Nancy J Powell said on 21 April in Kathmandu that the US Administration would support the forthcoming Maoist-led government of Nepal. The US Administration has so far estimated the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as a terrorist organization active against democracy and human rights. Nepal’s monarchy-led governments in which the current Nepali Congress and the United Marxist-Leninist (UML), too, worked also treated Nepal’s Maoist ex-rebels as terrorists. Because of this outlook found in domestic and external politics, there was no favorable atmosphere previously to address the grassroot agenda on which the Maoists founded and spread the decade-long People’s War [1996-2006].
As the ambassador indicated the latest change in the US attitude to the recently elected Maoists, who gained most of the seats in the April-10 the constituent assembly poll, the Nepalis expect the Whitehouse to soon remove the ‘terrorist’ tag labeled on Maoists.
The Nepali Congress and the UML had made utmost efforts to suppress with US military assistance the 10-year long armed insurgency led by the CPN (Maoist) but in vain. When King Gyanendra launched an army-aided coup on 1 February 2005, all political parties, including the Nepali Congress and the UML became completely sidelined despite their efforts to negotiate with the king and form a new government. Left with no option, they turned to Maoist insurgents for a joint political movement. Maoists, whom the Whitehouse had also targeted, and who had captured a greater portion of the rural territory, did not miss this opportunity. They expressed their desire to join the mainstream peaceful political movement, stating their condition of strategic equilibrium, a situation of neither winning nor defeating on both sides.
On 6 April 2006, the Maoists and other seven parties launched nationwide political movement against the direct royal regime. At the beginning, the seven parties concealed the information that even Maoist People’s Liberation Army men, people’s militia and general supporters had taken part in the movement. After one week of organized protests, the uprising occurred in the streets. Spontaneously, almost 10 million Nepalis (Nepal’s population 27.5 million) rose up in the streets across the nation. They defied the nationwide military curfews continuously up to 19 days. People demanded the complete and immediate abolition of monarchy.
While the Nepalis were preparing to declare Nepal a republic on 25 April 2006, the king restored the House of Representatives dissolved in 2001. He succumbed to people’s power saying that he was ready to abandon the captured sovereignty and give it back to people. The political forces wanted to prevent any further bloodbath. People believed that peaceful methods could end monarchy.
The recently held constituent assembly has been considered the best peaceful method to formally end monarchy in Nepal. Nepal’s interim constitution has already had a provision of federal republic just to be approved by the first meeting of the elected constituent assembly.
As Maoists were the chief proponents of the federal republican system in Nepal, the majority of Nepalis have mandated them to head the process of implementing the provision of the interim constitution. Maoist leaders Prachanda and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai have been lobbying for international support to them.
The international community has welcomed the poll results in Nepal. They expect Nepal to go through a peaceful path on the days to come. However, the king (soon going to be de-crowned and removed from the palace) has not presented his clear stance yet. Countering silence of the king, Maoist leader in an interview with Janadisha daily published on 20 April has clarified his party’s position that even the security forces may be used to remove the king from the palace should he be stubborn. Maoists have also declared to change the palace into a public museum.
After the Maoist-led government will be formed in a month, the US Administration may wish to wait and see. Unlike the Nepali Congress and the UML, Maoists have so far protected their image on sovereignty issues; therefore, contradictions between the US Administration and Maoist-led government may develop to a newer scale.
Seeking international relations on the basis of peaceful co-existence principles is something not without troubles in the third word as direct hegemony in the name of loans and grants has become an apparent truth at present. Self-sufficient economy will never become possible in Nepal unless the coming government can function without external interference.