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Ram Kumar Bhandari and Simon Robins

Nepal’s civil war appeared to have no definitive winner. Initiated by a Maoist Party that came to control a majority of the country, it was ended by a peace agreement that saw the country declared a republic, with a new constitution written and the Maoists integrated into Nepali politics. In the decade since the end of conflict, however, traditional caste and ethnic elites have reasserted themselves, and governance has resumed the form it traditionally had, driven by patronage networks and systemic corruption, with the Maoists now also sharing the spoils. It is argued here that despite the apparent changes, Nepal’s politics and social structures have largely survived the period of conflict, betraying many of the promises of social transformation contained in the peace agreement that ended the insurgency. The result is a continuation of many of the issues that were the root causes of the Maoist insurgency.