"Strategic Firmness - Tactical Flexibility". Why did the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) decide to join the peace process?
This paper looks into the reasons for the Nepali Maoists’ decision to join the peace process. Nepal, a country of 27 million inhabitants and squeezed in between India and China, was engulfed in a civil war between 1996 and 2006, that cost the lives of over 13000 people. In 2005 King Gyanendra assumed full power in a coup, and vowed to restore peace. The response was an alliance between the Maoists and the political parties that along with popular protests in April 2006 forced Gyanendra to step down and restore parliament. I look into the developments in the civil war that made this alliance and the following peace process possible. I argue that several interconnected factors made the alliance possible. The change in ideology on the part of the Maoists made possible a compromise with the political parties. Something that earlier would have been seen as revisionism. The term “strategic firmness, tactical flexibility” was used to explain these actions within the Maoist ideological framework. Other factors were also important in bringing together the Maoists and the political parties against the King. The increase of the power of the Palace in relation to the political parties made the politicians look to the Maoists for an alliance. After the royal coup of February 2005 India also changed their stance from support for a solution including the King and the parties, to support for a solution that included the Maoists and the parties. I will argue that the processes that lead to the peace process are best understood by using a dialectical view on the course of events, with a focus on how the actions of the different actors are interconnected. This as opposed to a view where the decisions are taken in a vacuum isolated from the conflict and Nepali society. I conclude that the royal coup in 2005 was decisive in bringing together the Maoists, the parties and India in the view that the King was the main obstacle to a peaceful and stable Nepal.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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