After the historic understanding between the Maoists and the seven parties Tuesday night, Nepal has ushered into a new era of peace and prosperity
Finally, they did. Seven months of internal homework and diplomatic exercises, five rounds of summit talks three rounds of formal talks and dozens round of informal talks between the Maoist and the government talks teams and 21 hours of rigorous discussions during fifth round of Summit talks that began Tuesday have resulted into a historic agreement. The historic Summit talks between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoists have finally reached an understanding paving way for formal entry of the Maoists into the peaceful political mainstream. The six point understanding agreement has addressed all the major issues including fate of monarchy, arms management, interim constitution, interim legislature, interim government and electoral system for Constituent Assembly.
The understanding has presented a timetable according to which the Maoists will be joining the interim government on December 1. The timetable is presented as following:
The government and the CPN Maoist will sign a comprehensive Peace Accord on November 16
The Maoist combatants will gather at the cantonments along with their weapons that will be locked in the storages by November 21. The UN will begin verifying the combatants and monitoring the arms and the activities of the rebel guerillas from the same day.
The Nepal Army also will be limited within the barracks, certain number of weapons will be kept in the storage and the UN will monitor them by November 21.
Finalize the draft of the interim constitution by November 21.
Promulgate interim constitution, form the interim legislature and scrap the House of Representatives and National Assembly by November 26.
Interim government by December 1.
The agreement has been signed by Prime Minister and NC president Girija Prasad Koirala, UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, NC (Democratic) president Sher Bahadur Deuba, Janamorcha Nepal president Amik Sherchan, general secretary of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi) Bharat Bimal Yadav, president of Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP) Narayan Man Bijukchhe and Leftist Front leader CP Mainali. Maoist chairman Prachanda has signed the agreement on behalf of his party. The summit meeting ended at 1:15 am on Wednesday that began at 4.00 PM Monday and resumed early morning Tuesday.
Below are the points on which the parties have agreed upon.
Fate of Monarchy
The agreement states that the fate of monarchy will be determined by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly. Simple majority will decide the fate. However the CPN UML has stood on his stance that the fate of Monarchy be decided through referendum.
The properties of late King Birendra will be put under a trust. The ancestral property of current King Gyanendra will be nationalized. The king will be powerless till the fate of monarchy is determined by CA.
The SPA government and the Maoists have agreed tol sign a Comprehensive Peace pact on November 16. Following this, the Maoist army would be sent to cantonments on November 21. Seven big cantonments will be set up each in Kailali, Surkhet, Rolpa, Palpa, Ilam, Kavre and Sindhuli districts and there will be 21 smaller camps.
The arms of the Maoist army will be separated and put under single lock system; its key given to Maoists and the cantonments will be monitored by the United Nations through Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and siren alarm, which will be set off if there is any unauthorized tampering of the lock. The UN will start verifying arms and monitor it from November 16 itself.
Nepal Army also under supervision
Similar quantity of arms of Nepali Army (NA) would also be put under single lock system. And the UN will monitor its activities as well.
The Interim Constitution will be promulgated on November 26. It will be promulgated by the House of Representatives, which would then be dissolved. Immediately following the dissolution of House of Representatives, an interim legislature will be formed and will commence its activities the same day, which would then adopt the interim constitution.
The interim legislature will have 330 members which will comprise the representatives as following –
Nepali Congress- 75
CPN (Unified Marxist Leninist) 73
CPN Maoists 73
Nepali Congress (Democratic) 42
From small parties at the House of Representatives 19
The 209 sitting MPs of the House of Representatives and National Assembly will be nominated by their respective parties to the interim legislature. These will not include pro-regression parliamentarians. Apart from them, the Maoists will nominate 73 members and 48 members will be chosen from civil society, professional organizations and various party organizations.
The interim government will be led by current Prime Minister and president of Nepali Congress (NC) Girija Prasad Koirala. It will be formed on December 1 including the Maoists. Each parties will be getting part in the interim government as per the number of members in the interim legislature. Hence, The NC will have the highest followed by CPN UML and the Maoists in second position.
Constituent Assembly and the Electoral system
The agreement states that the CA election would be held within mid-June 2007. The CA elections would be held on the basis of mixed proportional procedure.
There will be 425 members of CA – 205 will be elected directly on the basis of existing electoral constituencies. Another 204 members will be nominated by various parties on the basis of their proportional strength seen during direct elections.
The Prime Minister will nominate 16 remaining members of the CA.
The UML has written its Note of Dissent on electoral system for constituent Assembly as well. It also stated that election to CA should have been held on fully proportional representation system.
The parties have also agreed to determine 1990 as the cut-off year for providing citizenship. The UML had said the year of Referendum 1980 should be taken as the cut off year for providing citizenship. However, it didn’t mention under note of dissent at the understanding.