Nepali Times Asian Paints
Headline
Clearing a path


KIRAN NEPAL



MIN BAJRACHARYA

SOCKETS TO SICKLES: Maoists cleaned up Kathmandu and Lalitpur on Thursday, in a dramatic image-building exercise that is a sign of things to come.

The peace talks are coming to a climax this week. As expected, after the loud posturing of the pre-Tihar talks, the most contentious issues are being resolved in small, private meetings.

Having gone public with their positions, the parties and the Maoists now appear more willing to compromise on the two issues that divide them: deciding the fate of the monarchy and 'arms management'.

The Maoists' agreement to a cantonment proposal was delayed because of dissent in the ranks. But a proposal to lock up both armies\' weapons under a single-key formula monitored by the UN has been acceptable.

The UML is displaying flexibility on its proposal to have a referendum on the monarchy. But no agreement has been reached on what kind of a majority will be needed for the referendum or for elections to the constituent assembly-two-thirds, or a simple majority.

Between 75-85 of the proposed 325 seats in the constituent assembly will be assigned to mainstream political parties, and bargaining has already begun to allocate 20-25 percent of the seats in parliament to the Maoists. UML general secretary Madhab Nepal says the interim parliament will be in place by the end of the month.

Coming soon:

. Consensus on peace, ceasefire, and human rights agreements, which will be signed.
. Maoist army camps will be dismantled and militia cantoned in seven new camps and two sub-camps within 10-15 days.
. The UN will monitor all this, verify and register Maoist guerrillas and weapons, and lock away weapons within two weeks.
. The current parliament will present an interim constitution and then dissolve itself to be replaced by an interim parliament that will include the Maoists, which will then pass an interim constitution-all in one day.
. Simultaneously, Maoist local government and 'people's courts' will be dismantled.
. Public display of arms, marching with weapons, and forced 'donations' will be declared criminal activities.
. An interim government will be set up following the interim parliament.
. All-party peace councils will be formed in every district under the peace secretariat to avert vendetta attacks and lawlessness bred by the decade-long violence.
. The interim government will tackle internally displaced persons, reintegrating conflict victims and restructuring the state, and prepare for elections to the constituent assembly.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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