On Thursday, Nepalis vote in elections for a constituent assembly which is meant to write a new constitution and serve as a parliament for the poor Himalayan country.

The election - the country's first in nine years - was the centrepiece of a 2006 peace deal between the government and former Maoist rebels after a decade-long civil war.

The following is a chronology of how the Maoist war began and the march towards peace:

1994 - The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is founded by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, known by his nom de guerre Prachanda.

Feb 1996 - Maoists, who oppose the Himalayan country's constitutional monarchy, launch a "people's war" to establish a single-party communist republic.

Feb 2005 - King Gyanendra takes absolute power vowing to crush the Maoists.

Sept 2005 - Maoist rebels announce a unilateral ceasefire but the royalist government rejects it.

Nov 2005 - Maoists join a loose alliance with the seven main political parties to end royal rule.

Jan 2006 - Rebels end the ceasefire.

Apr 2006 - King Gyanendra gives up absolute power after widespread protests. Veteran politician Girija Prasad Koirala is sworn in as prime minister and invites rebels for talks.

Jun 2006 - The new government agrees with Maoists to dissolve parliament and form an interim administration that includes rebels.

Nov 2006 - Prime Minister Koirala and rebel chief Prachanda sign a peace deal, ending a civil war which killed more than 13,000 people.

Jan 2007 - Parliament scraps old constitution and adopts a new interim constitution. Maoists control 84 seats in the 329-member interim legislature.

Dec 2007 - The ruling alliance and the Maoists agree to abolish the monarchy after the elections.

Feb 2008 - Ethnic Madheshi groups call a strike demanding autonomy which brings much of the economy to a standstill.

Feb 2008 - The government seals a deal with most Madheshi groups to end the protests.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies