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's president gave the government and opposition parties until Aug. 21 to form a national government after Nepal's prime minister resigned following six months of stalemate.
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 got a new prime minister after seven months of a leadership vacuum. Some say the new coalition may result in boosting the agenda of the Maoist party.
The Nepal election on Wednesday failed to secure enough parliamentary votes to select a new prime minister. A runoff is scheduled for Friday.
Nepal's Maoists – former rebels who joined a peace process in 2006, won the right to govern in 2008, then resigned after a dispute a year later – say they will continue their protests until they are returned to power. The nationwide strike began Sunday.
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.