President: Ram Baran Yadav
Mr Yadav became the first president of Nepal in July 2008, nearly two months after the country's constituent assembly voted to abolish the 239-year-old monarchy.
He is an ethnic Madheshi from Nepal's southern lowlands and was backed by the centrist Nepali Congress - the second largest party in parliament - as well as two smaller parties.
Mr Yadav is a doctor and twice served as health minister. He has also held senior positions in the Nepali Congress. The presidency is a largely ceremonial position.
Prime minister: Baburam Bhattarai
In August 2011, Baburam Bhattarai became Nepal's fourth prime minister in as many years.
His priorities were the integration of more than 19,000 former Maoist guerrillas into the armed forces and the drafting of Nepal's first republican constitution - both of which were major conditions of the 2006 peace deal that ended a decade-long civil war.
But the failure of political leaders to agree on a constitution by a May 2012 deadline prompted Mr Bhattarai to call fresh parliamentary elections for November 2012. His coalition fell apart as soon as he took this step.
Analysts believe that politicians are unlikely to complete the legislative steps needed for the poll to go ahead in November. They say delaying the election could trigger protests and violence.
Born in a remote village in central Nepal in 1954, Mr Bhattarai had a career as an academic with an expertise in development studies.
He first became involved in politics during his student days in India, when he organised fellow Nepali students.
Mr Bhattarai went underground when the Maoists launched their armed insurrection against the Nepalese monarchy in 1996, but gradually emerged as the public face of the Maoists, becoming one of their lead negotiators in the run-up to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2006.
He has long been a close associate of Maoist leader Prachanda, though the relationship between the two men has not always been smooth.