In the run up to a vote to elect a new Prime Minister in Parliament, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has unveiled a 'proposal' and 'commitment’ on issues of peace, constitution and government. Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal made the document public at a press conference in the capital after a meeting of the standing committee of the party. He was accompanied by vice-chairman and the party’s prime ministerial candidate Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, and senior vice-chairman Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’.
In terms of the peace process, the Maoists have accepted an informal Nepal Army proposal to create a directorate under the NA as the modality of integration of combatants. The party has suggested that ‘around 8000’ of the 19,602 combatants in the cantonments be integrated, while the rest be rehabilitated. The official party document states that those to be integrated will have to meet standard norms of physical fitness, but there should be specially created norms with flexibility in terms of ‘age, marital status and education’. For those combatants who would be rehabilitated, Maoists have proposed giving a ‘golden handshake’ of anything between $9500 to $14,000 to be paid in instalments.
Those Maoist commanders who are a part of the party’s central committee would opt for political work instead of going into a security force. The party has proposed that a team of experts should be constituted to work out ‘rank harmonization’ for the remaining commanders. The former rebels have also called for the formation of a taskforce to create a ‘national security policy’ and plan for the ‘democratisation of the army’.
The party has set itself a calendar, stating that the process of ‘regrouping of combatants’ into those to be integrated and rehabilitated would begin before the term of the Constituent Assembly ends on August 31, and be concluded within one month. They have proposed holding an ‘official ceremony’ within 45 days to bid farewell to the combatants. The party has said that as soon as a Maoist-led government is formed, combatants, weapons and containers with the weapons would be handed over to the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist Combatants. The party has also proposed extending the term of the CA for another six months.
The Maoist proposal comes right before a parliamentary contest between Dr. Bhattarai and the NC parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel to become the next Prime Minister. Efforts at forging a consensus government failed with both NC and Maoists asking the other side to support their claim for leadership first. The outcome of the vote will now depend on the stand adopted by the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).