Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fighting Into Power

Former leaders of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal have been sworn in as ministers in the new coalition government. They fought a bloody campaign for a decade in the hope of getting rid of the monarcy and turning Nepal into a Communist country. After the King (just about the only member of the royal family left after the crown prince shot them all a few years back) finally agreed to give up most of his powers, the fighting finally stopped last year.

There's an element here of winning seats at the cabinet table through force. But the Maoists would never have got those seats had one part of their cause (to strip the King's powers away) not ended up becoming overwhelmingly popular among most Nepalese people. The King's increasingly bizarre behaviour as he sacked governments and put himself in personal charge saw to that. Oddly enough if he'd steered a more sensible course, the Maoists would surely still be fighting away.

Although all this doesn't mean the other part of the Maoist agenda (a Communist state) is actually going to happen, now they're working inside the political system there's a much better chance of it. And if it does, it'll be because of future success at the ballot box. And that's the way it should be.

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