The election of Maoist Baburam Bhattarai as prime minister has Nepal cautiously optimistic that the country may have found a leader who can end more than two years of political deadlock.
Nepal, which pulled out of civil war in 2006, has had three coalition governments in three years. Lawmakers just agreed to extend parliament by three months, but few are hopeful they'll soon resolve thorny issues.
Nepal's Maoists had pressured the prime minister to resign since he replaced their leader a year ago. As the largest party in parliament, they hope to lead the next government.
Former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's death could undermine the fragile Nepal government, which has until May 28 to write a new constitution. Mr. Koirala loomed large in Nepal's transition from monarchy to republic after a long civil war with Maoists.
Political consensus on key issues surrounding the country's peace process will now be even more difficult as the Maoists gear up to become the main opposition party, analysts say.
The former rebels plan to put all children in public schools by 2010, saying it will even the playing field.
Former insurgents have surprised Nepalis and marginalized moderates.