In 1951, the Nepali monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government.
Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. An insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out in 1996.
The ensuing 10-year civil war between rebels and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king.
Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a November 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution.
Following a nationwide election in April 2008, the newly formed Constituent Assembly (CA) declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and abolished the monarchy at its first meeting the following month. The CA elected the country's first president in July.
Between 2008 and 2011 there have been four different coalition governments, led twice by the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which received a plurality of votes in the Constituent Assembly election, and twice by the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist.
In August 2011, Baburam BHATTARAI of the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist became prime minister. After the CA failed to draft a constitution by the May 2012 deadline, BHATTARAI dissolved the CA and called for new elections. Months of negotiations failed to produce a new election date.
Finally, in March 2013, the chief justice of Nepal's Supreme Court, Khil Raj REGMI, was sworn in as Chairman of the Interim Council of Ministers for Elections to lead an interim government and charged with holding Constituent Assembly elections by December 2013.