11/25/2009, 00.00
NEPAL
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Maoist “truce” allows government to adopt budget and avoid insolvency

by Kalpit Parajuli
Maoist lawmakers lift veto on government budget voted today. Main government services will be up and running. New demonstrations are planned for December.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – The government of Nepal was able to adopt its budget today and avoid going broke as was predicted at the start of the month. This was made possible by opposition Maoist lawmakers who declared a “truce”. Originally part of the ruling national unity government, the latter had quit in May.

On Sunday, the leader of the Maoist party (United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, UCPN-M) Prachanda had announced, “We have decided to allow the house to meet for three days to pass the budget.[. . .] We decided to do this because of our role of more responsibility towards all government employees”.

Now that the budget is approved, the government can pay public servants, including Maoist Members of Parliament, who have been without their salaries for two months.

With money flowing again, the government can also re-start delivering services to the population, including hospitals and industrial development programmes.

The government will also be able to provide financial assistance to the 20,000 Maoist fighters still waiting in training camps, thus reducing the chances for further unrest.

Yet, despite the “truce”, UCPN-M Deputy President Baburam Bhattarai announced new demonstrations, which could destabilise the country in December as schools, government buildings, factories and transportation are blocked.

On 11-13 November, some 150,000 Maoists took to the streets and blocked access to the most important government offices, demanding they be integrated into society

When the Republic was proclaimed in 2006, Maoist armed forces were supposed to disarm and join the army.

In 2008, Nepal’s Maoists won the election under Prachanda, but Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav, fearful of their growing power, has refused to allow the former rebels into Nepal’s armed forces.

In response, Prachanda resigned from the post of prime minister on 4 May of this year, and has led protests that continue to this day.

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