Nepal peace deal sets stage for unity govt: PM

Bhattarai said that the consensus over concluding the peace process and constitution drafting was historic.

Updated: Nov 02, 2011, 22:01 PM IST

Kathmandu: A landmark deal between Nepal`s
political parties to integrate about one-third of the 19,000
former Maoist guerrillas into the national army sets the stage
for reinvigorating the stalled peace process and formation of
a national unity government after years of wrangling.

A day after Nepal`s main parties inked a crucial deal to
boost the tottering peace process, Prime Minister Baburam
Bhattarai said today that a mechanism comprising top leaders
of major parties would be formed soon to transform the current
coalition into a national unity government.

The leaders of the ruling United CPN-Maoist and its key
supporter in the coalition, Joint Democratic Madhesi Front
along with the main opposition parties, Nepali Congress and
CPN-UML yesterday inked a deal to integrate 6,500 of the
19,000 former Maoist combatants into the security forces and
return properties sezied during the decade-long civil war that
ended in 2006.

The four major political forces, representing an
overwhelming majority in the 601 member Constituent Assembly,
reached a seven-point agreement yesterday to conclude the
stalled peace process within a month and to prepare a draft
constitution by November-end.

Bhattarai said that the consensus over concluding the
peace process and constitution drafting was historic.
The deal also talks about initiating the process for the
formation of a national government.

The Kantipur online quoted the prime minister as saying
that his government would soon take the form of a national
consensus government.

Bhattarai said his future has been linked with the
success or failure of the twin task, the media reported.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, the former Prime Minister and senior
leader of the CPN-UML, expressed confidence that the "historic
agreement" will complete the peace process and the drafting of
the new constitution.

Nepali Congress leader R C Poudyal said "this is a
historic agreement among the major parties".

"I am confident that the peace process will conclude
within a month and a draft constitution will be ready by that
time," he said.

"The political parties have made a breakthrough in taking
forward the stalled peace process and if properly implemented
it will complete the peace process and a democratic
constitution will be promulgated guaranteeing the rights and
proper representation of the Madhesi people," Anil Kumar Jha,
a minister in the Maoist-led coalition and Sadbhawana Party
president said.

The deal provides that Maoist combatants opting for
rehabilitation instead of joining the security forces will get
a package of Rs 600,000 to Rs 900,000 for education, training
and vocational opportunity. Those opting for cash incentive
under rehabilitation will get a financial support between Rs
500,000 to Rs 800,000.

The weapons stored in the cantonments will come under the
government`s control once the process of integration starts.

The regrouping of the Maoist combatants will be completed
in seven days and the integration process will complete by
November 23.

As part of the deal, relief package will also be given to
the kin of those killed, injured, disappeared or displaced
during the decade-long armed conflict.

The Maoist party will take an official decision to return
the private and public properties seized by them during the
armed conflict to their owners and also on dismantling the
paramilitary youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL) by
November 23.

The process will be initiated to prepare a draft
constitution within a month, keeping in view the November-end
deadline of the expiry of the Constituent Assembly, which acts
as the country`s interim parliament.

The House has been extended three times after failing to
meet the deadline for framing a constitution, a task that will
pave the way for fresh elections.

Unhappy Maoist hardline leaders, however, have threatened
to "revolt" against the inking of the pact.

Senior Maoist vice chairman Mohan Vaidya "Kiran" and
general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa demanded that the peace
deal be scrapped.

Vaidya and Thapa slammed the deal, claiming it was a
betrayal of the people and the country.

"We will revolt from inside the party, but not let the
party split," he underlined today.

Vaidya had earlier attacked Bhattarai for signing the
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
(BIPPA) with New Delhi during his four-day India visit last
month.

PTI