Case for a peace agreement

The inaugural session of Parliament restored by Jana Andolan II passed a resolution in May 2006 calling for elections for a Constituent Assembly (CA) for creating a new constitution. The resolution stated that the solution to the conflict was possible only by a new constitution drafted by a CA.

This was the only mandate given by the Jana Andolan II to the SPA and the Maoists. It is difficult to understand why the government is going for a CA without a national peace accord. Why are the government, the SPA and the Maoists not showing any interest in this matter? The 12-point accord, and the eight-point accord for the dissolution of House of Representatives, framing of an interim constitution within15 days and formation of an interim government, including the Maoists, within a month, were signed only for the success of the Jana Andolan II.

Such agreements might or might not be followed. The government and the Maoists signed a 25-point truce deal in May, followed by an eight-point accord. An interim constitution drafting committee was formed according to the 25-point truce deal. The eight-point accord was not a peace accord as there is no provision about what is to be done if both sides do not abide by it.

Similarly, the 25-point code of conduct is not an accord. It is only binding if there is a comprehensive peace accord. If the country is to move ahead to frame a new constitution, a comprehensive peace accord (CPA) must replace previous agreements. Such a CPA is a pre-requisite for the CA polls. Several countries tried to organise CA polls to frame a new constitution but failed because there was no CPA. On the other hand, India, South Africa, Bolivia, Colombia and East Timor have succeeded in framing new constitutions through a CA when the political system was changed either by revolution, people’s movement or decolonisation.

No CPA has been signed five months after the adoption of the resolution on CA polls by the restored Parliament. Leaders have announced that elections will take place either in April or October in 2007. Without the signing of the CPA, this gives a false hope. Other problems that need to be sorted out are arms management, administration of justice during the interim period, problems of Dalits, Janajatis and women, and the ‘disappeared’. It is essential to reach an agreement on signing a CPA at the summit talks between the government, the Maoists, the SPA, smaller parties, civil society, COAS and chief of PLA and the monarch.

The signing should be witnessed by the UN.

The King should agree to abide by the CA verdict. Similarly, both PLA and Nepali Army should declare their intention of co-operating fully during the CA polls. The idea of CPA should then be disseminated by the media and published in government gazette. It should include arms management, proposal for enforcing interim constitution, ways to solve citizenship problem, phases in CA polls, election date and the way of conducting it, interim government, state council, judiciary during the interim period and compensation to the disappeared persons.

A code of conduct for following CPA should also include responsibility. Any party violating its terms could be taken to national and international courts. The CPA signing could be conducive to holding free and fair CA polls.