Bidhya Devi Bhandari

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Nepal's first female President

The Times of India, Oct 29 2015

Bidhya Devi Bhandari is Nepal's first woman prez

A Communist leader who has long campaigned for women's rights was elected as Nepal's first female president. Bidhya Devi Bhandari, deputy leader of of the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist, led by prime minister Khadga Prasad Oli, received 327 votes against her opponent's 214, parliament speaker Onsari Gharti announced. In Nepal, the president is the ceremonial head, while the PM is the nation's leader. Bhandari, 54, was among the politicians who campaigned for ensuring women's rights in the new constitution. The document says one-third of the members in parliament have to be women and either the president or vice president must be a woman. Nepal is traditionally a male-dominated society .Last week, Onsari Gharti was elected the first female parliament speaker. The new constitution, adopted in Sept 2015, also says women need to be included in all government committees and assemblies, including par liament and state assemblies. Bhandari has been a leading political figure since her husband Madan Bhandari, who was then leader of the party , was killed in a still unsolved car accident in 1993.She also led many demonstrations against King Gyanendra in 2006 that finally ended his authoritarian rule and restored democracy. Bhandari is Nepal's second president since the Himalayan nation was turned into a republic after abolishing centuries-old monarchy .The first president, Ram Baran Yadav, was elected in 2008 and was supposed to be in office for two years. But preparing and adopting the constitution took seven years due to differences between political parties.

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