ICG urges major parties to work together

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Kathmandu, July 4 (UNI) The International Crisis Group (ICG) has asked major parties in Nepal to cooperate in the formation of a Maoist-led coalition government to avoid any political instability.

In its new report on Nepal, the ICG examined major challenges in the peace process that had made a considerable progress but was still incomplete.

''The voters in the CA elections delivered a mandate for peace and change, giving the Maoists a clear victory but leaving them without an absolute majority. The established parties, shocked by their defeat, have stalled the formation of a Maoist-led coalition government,'' the report said.

The political landscape has changed irrevocably, but the old parties have not woken up to the new realities,'' the report quoted Rhoderick Chalmers, the Crisis Group's South Asia Deputy Project Director, as saying.

He further said, ''The aftermath of the election has been marred by the behaviour of powerful losers, who are reluctant to keep the promise of working on the basis of consensus.'' The ICG report stated that overall, the elections were credible, and the CA was now far more representative than any past parliament but the Maoist's surprise success had thrown the traditionally dominant parties into confusion, as has the emergence of powerful new regional parties.

''Multiple issues need to be tackled in order to build a sustainable peace, most critically security sector reform. The continuing existence of both the People's Liberation Army and the Nepal Army is inherently destabilising. The national army remains outside meaningful democratic control, and the Maoist willingness to discuss compromise options has met with a brick wall,'' the report added.

Stating that all main parties must accept the election results and form a consensus-based government under a Maoist leadership that in turn has to prove that it is irrevocably committed to democratic behaviour, the ICG said the CA and the new government must also rebuild law and order in the countryside, put an end to the culture of impunity that grew during the long civil war, do more to build peace at the local level and adjust to other changes in the political landscape such as the rise of identity politics.

Robert Templer, the Crisis Group's Asia Program Director said, ''The way in which political leaders cope with the political challenges of the election aftermath will determine whether the remarkable result delivers peace and change or further conflict.'' UNI XC SYU BD1450

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