Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M), reversed his decision to withdraw support for the government, as he signed an agreement with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) to offer amnesty and pardon to the perpetrators of civil war crimes. As the agreement was released to the public, it provoked a strong backlash from the families of civil war crime victims and human rights organizations, who urged punishment for perpetrators.
According to media reports in Nepal, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as “Prachanda,” declared that his party would withdraw its support for the ruling coalition led by Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. It’s because even one year after the massive earthquake that struck Nepal in April last year, the post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation work was still proceeding very slowly, and the political situation also remained unstable after the promulgation of the new constitution in September last year. K.P. Sharma Oli became the chairman of the CPN-UML, and was elected as Prime Minister in October last year.
Chairman Dahal criticized Prime Minister Oli for his poor performance of state affairs and said that he would lead the government. On the following day—May 5, however, he reversed his decision and reached an agreement with CPN-UML. According to the Himalayan Times, Chairman Dahal had a discussion to form a new coalition government with the Nepali Congress, but he changed his attitude 180 degrees that day.
Chairman Dahal signed a nine-point agreement with CPN-UML, which focuses mainly on granting amnesty to the perpetrators of civil war crimes. The seventh point of the agreement directs the authorities to initiate the process to withdraw civil war cases from courts and offer amnesty to alleged perpetrators. On May 11, the families of civil war crime victims and human rights activists staged a protest against the agreement, and on May 25 foreign diplomats residing in Nepal also expressed concern over the agreement. They urged Nepal’s political parties to comply with international human rights principles, standards, and norms and to establish transitional justice mechanisms.
Dahal was also elected as Chairman of the CPN Maoist Centre that comprises 10 Maoist parties including the UCPN-M. In 2012, the UCPN-Maoist was divided into separate factions after a series of ideological disputes, which weakened the political power of Maoists. The CPN-M Centre constituted a 9-member party headquarters and announced to run the party through its headquarters at the Central Committee meeting held on May 23.
Correspondent Jeom-Ki Kim