Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ongoing Events: May 3rd 6:00PM

While an uneasy haze surrounds Kathmandu, things for the moment have returned to a relative normality.

Things are a little clearer now, but still things are changing at present, and especially without access to the Nepali Language news it is hard to tell exactly what is going on.

To recap this morning after a final last ditch attempt at consensus- the Maoists removed the Chief of Army Staff General Katawal from his post. This has brought into the open divisions with in the government, within the Military and within many political parties.

The Madheshi Peoples Rights Forum (MJF) passed a note of decent against the procedure that the Maoists used to sack Katawal. They are deeply divided about the action, and split vertically, with key leaders on both sides of the debate. The CPN(UML) boycotted the cabinet meeting after the motion to sack Katawal passed. It seems that they have left the government, but they too are split vertically, with key leaders being very vocal on both sides of the issue. It is yet to be seen for certain what stance these parties will take in the coming days, they have both had emergency meetings this afternoon. It does appear however the at least factions of the UML are teaming up with the Nepali Congress to try and create a new Government.

Naturally the Nepali Congress lead the opposition to the Maoists. They have been trying to disrupt the capital and create protests all afternoon with little success. Further, the nations ceremonial President is a member of the Nepali Congress and has increasingly been trying to overstep his role. The interim Constitution clearly states that the President takes his directives from the executive- however President Ram Baran Yadav is now choosing to "consult other stake holders" before endorsing any decision on the matter.

At present the risk of a Military Coup appears small (although not insignificant). The now acting Chief of Staff General Khadka appears to have consolidated control within the military. That being said EX-General Katawal was attempting to meet with his supporters in the military, and i have not seen the outcome of this meeting yet.

It will however all come down to the streets. So far the NC are the only ones who have tried to call people to the streets against the decision. All after noon NC members created fires and disrupted traffic. These were counted however by the Maoists- led by the YCL, who have organised rallies across Kathmandu, and then dispersed opposition groups and removed traffic hazards, put out fires ect. Within less than 12 hours of the decision, a Maoist rally of More than 10,000 has been held in central Kathmandu, with smaller rallies elsewhere.

These events are of course unlikely to be over today, and it also needs to be stressed that we are yet to see a response from the "international community". It is still essential that International watchers be on guard for the possible necessity of Solidarity actions.

More as i know it.

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