Despite the apparent achievements of the 1990 movement, successive elected governments in the 1990s failed to deliver any material difference to the people, and the politicians themselves became increasingly corrupt. In 1996 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) declared a ‘People’s War’. This did not receive international attention until after November 2001, but was extremely successful, and by 2003 the Maoists controlled the majority of rural Nepal.
In June 2001 King Gyanendra had succeeded to the throne after a palace massacre in which the King, his brother, was murdered. Gyanendra proved ambitious for power and, using the civil war as a pretext, dissolved Parliament in October 2003. Subsequently he dismissed the Prime Minister, taking absolute monarchical power in February 2005.
In April 2006 a mass movement, in which democrats and Maoists (with the guerrillas laying aside their guns) cooperated, launched prolonged strikes and demonstrations which forced the king to reinstate parliament and to agree to elections to a constituent assembly to redraft the constitution. The newly elected parliament entered into negotiations with the Maoists, culminating in an agreed peace deal in November 2006. Despite continuing difficulties over the existence and role of the guerrilla army, in general Nepal appears to be an encouraging example of guerrillas switching to an unarmed struggle to achieve a peaceful outcome.