With the end of three-day general strike called by United Communist Party of Nepal, Maoist (UCPN-Maoist), December 20-22, the party has concluded the third phase of agitation against the President's move to reinstate the Army Chief of Staff. At the same time, the UCPN-Maoist has announced an awareness-raising campaign for the forth phase of agitation. This phase is for a month and going to finish on January 24. The party has warned that if the government fails to address civilian supremacy, it will begin an indefinite general strike from January 25, 2010.

Addressing a mass rally on December 22,  Prachanda, president of UCPN-Maoist has said that the political parties of Nepal are 'puppets' of India and are not capable to resolving the internal problems of Nepal. He implies that the political parties of Nepal are controlled by India and it is worthless to hold a dialogue with the parties. He also said that his party would directly hold a dialogue with India, if it is necessary. His speech received widespread criticisms from the political circles in Kathmandu and Delhi. Meanwhile, the UCPN-Maoist has also announced to end its obstructions in the parliament, which would end a period of 5 months in which it has functioned in only a limited fashion. People from different corners have welcomed this unilateral decision of the UCPN-Maoist as a window of opportunity to resolve the present crises. On the other hand, people can also point to the announcement of the forth phase of protest as a reason to be doubtful of progress.

The time-frame for writing the new constitution is now not more than five months. These ongoing and prolonged political crises clearly will inevitably have an adverse impact on the peace process, and the writing of a new constitution.

Posted by Ambika Pokhrel, Local Correspondent for Nepal, 4 January 2010