Finally, Prachanda, the Maoist supreme leader, is in Kathmandu is holding talks with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in the latter’s official residence in Baluwataar. A large group of journalists is curiously waiting outisde the residence. Dr Baburam Bhattarai, second to Prachanda in the party hirerarchy, is also present in the meeting. Since both sides (government and the Maoists) have agreed in principle on holding the election of constituent assembly, it is widely believed that they are talking on the process to reach there: formulating an interim constitution and an interim government. This is the first time in the history of a decade long Maoist “peoples’ war” that their supreme leader has come to the talks table. People are extremely hopeful yet a bit skeptic about the success of the ‘Peace Summit’ considering the procedural difference between the two sides.
The Historic Eight-point Agreement
Reached between the ruling Seven Party Alliance and the Maoist party.
The Eight-point agreement reached between the seven-party alliance and CPN-Maoist following summit talks between the two sides at the Prime Minister’s residence at Baluwatar on Friday (June 16, 2006) is as follows (Unofficial Translation)
1. Effectively and honestly implement the 12-point understanding reached between the SPA and Maoists in November last year and the 25-point Ceasefire Code of Conduct signed between the SPA government and CPN-Maoist on May 26 this year
2. Commitment to democratic norms and values including competitive multi-party system, civic liberties, fundamental rights, human rights, press freedom, and the concept of rule of law and Carry out each other’s activities in a peaceful manner
3. Request the United Nations to help in the monitoring and management of the armies and arms of both government and Maoist sides for a free and fair election to the Constituent Assembly
4.Guarantee the democratic rights achieved through the 1990 Popular Movement and the recent historic People’s Movement; draft an interim constitution based on the 12-point understanding and the ceasefire Code of Conduct; form an interim government accordingly; announce the dates for constituent assembly elections; dissolve the House of Representatives through consensus after making alternative arrangement; dissolve the People’s Governments of CPN-Maoist
5. Decide issues of national interests having long-term effects through consensus
6. Guarantee the fundamental right of the Nepali people to participate in the constituent assembly elections without any fear, influence, threat and violence. Invite international observation and monitoring during the elections as per the need
7. Bring about a forward-looking restructuring of the state so as to resolve the class-based, racial, regional and gender-based problems through constituent assembly elections. Transform the ceasefire between the Nepal Government and CPN-Maoist into permanent peace by focusing on democracy, peace, prosperity, forward-looking change and the country’s independence, sovereignty and pride, and express commitment to resolve the problem through talks
8. The government and Maoist talks teams have been directed to accomplish all tasks related to above-mentioned points without any delay
Interim Constitution Drafting Committee
A meeting of the government and the Maoist talks teams held at the PM’s residence at Baluatar after the conclusion of the Summit Talks has decided to form a six-member “Interim Constitution Draft Committee” under the coordination of former Supreme Court justice Laxman Prasad Aryal.
Senior lawyer Harihar Dahal, lawyer and human rights defender Sindhunath Pyakurel, President of Nepal Bar Association Sambhu Thapa, former attorney general Mahadev Yadav and lawyer Khimlal Devkota are the members of the committee. Devkota is the Maoist representative in the committee.
“The interim constitution draft committee has been formed as per the eight-point agreement reached between the SPA and the Maoists,” member of the government talks team and Minister Pradip Gyawali told reporters at the press conference at Baluwatar.
The committee will submit the draft of the interim Constitution to the government and Maoist talks teams within 15 days.
A historic new experiment: Prachanda
Addressing the press conference, Maoist Chairman Prachanda called the ongoing peace process “A historic new experiment of the 21st century.” “If the peace process becomes successful then Nepal could achieve development and prosperity in the next 5 -10 years,” he said.
Saying that the parliament, people’s government of the Maoists and the current SPA government should be dissolved within one month’s time and that an interim constitution and government should be formed, the Maoist chairman said sustainable peace could be achieved through constituent assembly elections.
Prachanda also said that the constituent assembly elections should be held within a year’s time. “The process of dissolution of the parliament, people’s government of the Maoists and the current SPA government will begin once the interim constitution is drafted and the process of formation of interim government begins,” Prachanda further said.
On the issue of ceremonial monarchy, Prachanda asserted that his party was in favour of a democratic republic but other parties were free to go to the Constituent Assembly elections with their own views about the monarchy.
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