The 'indefinite general strike' called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) recently ended, after 6 days. The strike followed the mass rallies and meetings on the occasion of the Labor Day on May 1st. It is suspected that more than one hundred thousand people, especially youths, were brought to Kathmandu from the different parts of the country to celebrate the Labor Day and for the general strike. The UCPN-M were forced to withdraw the strike because of rising unpopularity and criticisms. The criticisms were especially strong from EU countries and the people of Kathmandu. The party has previously been organizing demonstrations against the President's move to reinstate the then army chief and demanding formation of the new government under its leadership. This time their demand was only concentrated resignation of the Prime Minister.
The UCPN-M not only withdrew the general strike but indirectly claimed that the indefinite general strike had not been done the proper way or at the right time. The chairperson of the Maoist party, Prachanda, has apologized in the interaction programme with the intellectuals and the citizens of Kathmandu, especially for the speech during the strike in which the middle class people of Kathmandu were targeted, when it was stated that the "neat and clean urbanites humiliated the shabbily-dress and dirty rural folks". The Maoists party thought that the middle class people of Kathmandu did not support to the strike and engaged to the activities to defy the strike. The party itself has realized that its popularity and support from Kathmandu has decreased.
Meetings and talks among the political parties have been resumed after the strike. Nepali Congress (NC), one of the ruling parties, is very notably holding meetings with the Maoists party at various levels, including with senior leaders. The meetings and the talks are surrounded among the major issues --
- extension of the Constituent Assembly term;
- People's Liberation Army (PLA - army of the CPN-M) integration and rehabilitation and;
- power sharing (formation of a national consensus government).
However, the deadlock of the political development is not only PLA integration and rehabilitation but also down sizing and democratization of the Nepal army as laid out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). There are currently about one hundred thousand Nepal soldiers in Nepal. Unless these issues are solved then the constitution making process will always be in the shadows. These issues have been dominating the peace process and constitution-making process since the beginning.
It seems that the UCPN-M has shown flexibility for negotiation by calling off an indefinite general strike. The party already showed indication of flexibility for negotiation forwarding three main points:
- YCL barracks are removed within 4-5 days;
- those who want to integrate in the security forces and those who want to integrate in society are separated in the different camps within a month; and
- to complete integration process within four months.