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Nepal's Maoists storm parliament, slide into opposition role

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The turn of events since Prachanda's resignation has been dramatic. Veteran communist politician Madhav Kumar Nepal, a senior leader from the relatively moderate Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), who seemed to be in the twilight of his career after losing elections from two constituencies last April, looks set to become the country's new prime minister. Twenty-two of 24 political parties in the parliament, who command 350 of the 601 seats, have thrown their weight behind him. The only ones not supporting him are the Maoists and a small party, the Nepal Workers and Peasants' Party.

But the parliament has to formally endorse Nepal as the new prime minister through a vote.

Angry denunciations

Addressing some 50,000 supporters in Kathmandu on Sunday, Prachanda denounced President Ram Baran Yadav and the new prime ministerial candidate Nepal, saying they were stooges of a foreign power, a clear reference to India.

But the Maoist chairman was careful to tell his followers – who are angry with Mr. Yadav and are demanding that he resign – that his party would not desert the peace process, nor would it return to war.

The speech was also an indication that the road ahead for Nepal's peace process is rocky, especially because there is little trust left between the Maoists and the major democratic forces of Nepal.

There are 19,702 Maoist fighters living in cantonments across Nepal monitored by the United Nations. Unless they are resettled into society, lasting peace is hard for most Nepalis to imagine.

Why the Maoists 'civilian rule' argument was rejected

"The theory that the Maoists served a termination letter to the army chief to establish civilian supremacy was rejected all around, and with vehemence," says Jayshi. "Even India, which seems to wield considerable influence in Nepal's politics, rejected it."

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