KATHMANDU, Oct 28: CPN-UML Vice-Chairman Bidhya Devi Bhandari has been elected as second and first female president of Nepal garnering majority votes in the election held at parliament on Wednesday.
Bhandari received 327 out of 549 votes cast. Her closest contestant Kul Bahadur Gurung of the Nepali Congress (NC) received 214 votes. 48 lawmakers were absent during voting to elect new president.
Bhandari's victory was almost certain as 12 ruling parties including the third and fourth largest parties -- UCPN (Maoist) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) -- had pledged their support.
Voting for new president concludes, 549 lawmakers cast vote
The voting process for the presidential election that started in the Legislature-Parliament at 11 am concluded at around 2 pm on Wednesday afternoon.
549 lawmakers out of 597 cast their votes, while 48 lawmakers remained absent. The counting of vote is slated to begin at 2:30 pm and the results would be announced in the meeting to be held at 5:00 this evening.
The parliament is electing the President for the first time after the promulgation of new constitution through the Constituent Assembly.
CPN-UML Vice-chair Bidhya Devi Bhandari had registered her candidacy to the post of the President with support from the political parties of ruling alliance while Nepali Congress leader Kul Bahadur Gurung had also filed his candidacy to the post.
Photos by Dipesh Shrestha/Republica
President Bhandari's Brief bio
One of the active and prominent woman leaders of Nepal's democratic and leftist movements, Bidya Devi Bhandari, has been elected the first woman President of Nepal.
Vice-Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Bhandari has become the second President- the Head of the State- of Republic Nepal following Dr Ram Baran Yadav.
Born to Ram Bahadur Pande and Mithila Pandey at Manebhanjyang village of Bhojpur, a remote eastern hilly district of the country, on Asar 5, 2018BS, Bhandari completed her basic education from Behereshwor Primary School and secondary education from Bidyodaya Secondary School in the district.
Her college education began from Bhojpur Campus and she earned Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Mahendra Morang College of Biratnagar. Her journey into communist politics had begun during her college days in Bhojpur in 2035BS, after joining the CPN-ML's Youth League. She was elected as district representative for All Nepal National Free Students' Union (ANNFSU) through its national convention held in Kathmandu in 2037BS.
Receiving membership of the CPN-ML in 2037BS, Bhandari worked as a member of the ANNFSU's eastern region from 2036 to 2044BS. Moreover, she became the chief of the woman department of Nepal Trade Union Federation (GEFONT) for five years from 2050BS.
Nepal's women's movement was led by Bhandari being the Chairperson All Nepal Women's Association in 2054BS. She was the central member of the CPN-UML from the same year.
Leader Bhandari became the Vice-Chairman of the party through the eighth convention held in Butwal in 2064BS.
She was married to influential communist leader Madan Bhandari in 2039BS, who died in a mysterious road accident in 2050 B.S. She is a mother of two daughters- Usha Kiran and Nisha Kushum.
Bhandari was elected member of the House of Representatives defeating Krishna Prasad Bhattarai of Nepali Congress in the by-election of 2050's general election in Kathmandu Constituency no. 1. She was elected again in the midterm election of 2051BS, and in the general election of 2056BS.
Leader Bhandari played a vital role to guarantee at least 33 percent women's representative in each State mechanism, by seconding a resolution for the same at the re-instated House of Representatives in 2063 BS.
She undertook the responsibility of Defense Minister for two years from 2067BS in the critical political transition after the end of the decade long insurgency in the country.
Leader Bhandari has travelled to India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brazil, the USA, Canada and Italy.