Aside from the instability of frequently changing governments, the biggest problem of the young democracy in Nepal, which was established in 1990, was the over 10-year-long dispute with the Maoists. The then government had mistakenly assumed it could eliminate these rebels with military forces. The King's attempt to get the situation under control by suppressing the Parliament and appointing an emergency government equally failed and ultimately led to his own downfall.
A rigorous change of the political situation came through the general strike in 2006, which featured daily demonstrations and lasted almost three weeks. Planned by an alliance of seven parties and the Maoists as a 4-days-strike, it grew into a protest movement against the King, which eventually encompassed all population groups. On 24 April, 2006, the King had to yield to the massive pressure, and reinstated the Parliament. After months of intensive negotiations, a formal peace treaty was signed on 11 November 2006, between the government and the Maoists. This was the formal end of the "civil war", which lasted for over ten years and claimed over 13,000 lives. Among other things, the treaty regulated the disarmament of the rebels under UN control, mutual release of prisoners as well as acknowledgement and compliance of human rights.
In January 2007 followed the next major step with
the passage of an interim constitution. It enabled the number of parliamentary
seats to increase, and the Maoists to instate 83 delegates in the Parliament.
From 1 April, 2007, the inclusion in the government was granted to the Maoists
by relinquishing to them 5 (of 22) ministerial posts. This interim solution
remained in effect until the election of the Constituent Assembly in 2008.
With the first
free elections in about ten years, on April 10, 2008, this period of the civil
war came to an end for good. The Maoist party emerged from the elections
victorious, with an overwhelming majority (78%). On 15 August, 2008,
"Prachanda" Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Maoist leader during the over
ten-year-long period of Civil war, was elected Prime Minister. At the
presidential elections, however, the candidate of the former governing party
(Nepali Congress), Ram Baran Yadav, prevailed.
After the monarchy had already been abolished by the interim constitution (with subsequent confirmation by the new constituent assembly), the conflicting interests of the political parties proved to be dynamite, which kept undermining a rational political cooperation within the cabinet and the Parliament.
On 4 May, 2009, Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigned his post as head of government, after Prime Minister Ram Baran Yadav had revoked his decision to sack the Nepalese army chief prematurely, after disputes over the integration of the Maoist combatants into the national security forces. On 30 June 2010, his successor, Madhav Kumar Nepali of the CPN-UML, also resigned due to pressure by the Maoists. The election of a new prime minister proved rather difficult, as all the major parties first tried to field their own candidate, with none of them being able to receive the required majority of the votes. Not until the 17th round was Jhalanath Khanal, chairman of the CPN-UML, elected the new Prime Minister, with 368 out of 601 votes, and supported by the Maoists.
In the meantime, not only Jalanak Khanal, but also his successor, the Maoist Dr. Baburam Battarai, had to step down. The constituent assembly was dissolved before the completion of the new constitution and new elections were held on 13 November 2013. This time, the Nepali Congress Party got the majority of votes, thus the new Nepali Prime Minister, Dr. Sushil Koirala, is a member of the Congress Party. He is the 37th Prime Minister of Nepal.