World / Asia-Pacific

Nepal parliament elects first female president

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-28 22:20

Nepal parliament elects first female president

Vice-Chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) Bidhya Devi Bhandari waves after voting at the Parliament in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 28, 2015.[Photo/Xinhua]

KATHMANDU -- Nepal's parliament on Wednesday elected Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Vice Chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), as the country's first female president.

Bhandari, 54, has been the second president of the Himalayan country after it became the federal democratic republic in 2008 ending a 240-year Monarchy.

The election came after the Himalayan country promulgated a new constitution on Sept. 20.

Bhandari secured 327 votes to become the president when 541 lawmakers cast ballots out of 597 in the presidential election while her rival, Nepali Congress leader Kul Bahadur Gurung garnered 214 votes.

Bhandari has replaced Ram Baran Yadav who was appointed on July 23, 2008 as the country's first head of the state.

Bhandary, a communist leader in Nepal belonging to the country's second largest party CPN (UML), secured majority votes as she was backed by the third largest party UCPN-Maoist, the fourth largest party Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal) and other fringe parties in the Nepali Parliament.

Bhandari's election as the state head for five years has been taken positively across the country where women comprise more than half of the country's 28 million populations but still treated as second-class citizens.

"My mother has gone through a long struggle to reach over this post. It's a very proud moment. As a good mother, I am confident that she will be a good president who will play a proactive and positive role to take the nation toward prosperity", Ushakiran Bhandari, the elder daughter of the new president, told Xinhua exclusively.

Her election as the ceremonial president of this small South Asian country by defeating a male candidate has raised a hope over the uplift of Nepalese women who have been struggling high for equal existence.

"A capable woman in the position of head of state is really a welcoming move. It proves that women existence is acceptable and provides a chance for the marginalized to rise from their roots. It's a revolution in South Asia", Nirmala Sharma, a senior woman journalist, told Xinhua.

It is to be noted that Bhandari has been chosen for the post of president not only for being a woman or a widow of veteran communist leader Madan Bhandari but she is well-known for her own capabilities and leadership quality in Nepalese politics.

She joined the mainstream politics by winning the parliamentary election in 1994, defeating former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, right after the death of her husband in a road accident in 1993.

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