Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Nepal's first woman president wins second term

Bidhya Devi Bhandari Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Marlene Weaver | 14 March, 2018, 17:23

President Bidya Bhandari got re-elected on Tuesday as the Head of the State, but the euphoria with which Nepalis celebrated her emergence as the country's first female President two years ago is somewhat muted.

During her previous tenure as the President, she had had a fair performance, save the controversy over delaying the ordinance of the National Assembly and not approving the nominees to the NA recommended by the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba led government.

She was first elected president in 2015, shortly after Nepal's post-war constitution was passed, which carves out one-third of seats in parliament for woman and mandates that either the president or vice president must be a woman.

Bhandari was elected twice in parliamentary elections in 1994 and 1999.

'The preparations for the election of today have been completed.

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Bhandari mustered 39,275 votes while Rai garnered 11,730 votes, Election Commission spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal said. A total of 549 lawmakers from the Provincial Council will vote to elect the new president.

Bhandari, who was backed by the ruling Communist bloc, was widely expected to defeat her sole opponent.

An electoral college also voted in the Presidential elections, which included the members of Parliament and Provincial Assemblies.

With Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and other fringe parties also deciding to support Bhandari, she was virtually assured of getting the minimum 26,921 votes needed for her re-election. In Tuesday's voting, a total of a total of 330 lawmakers from the Federal Parliament and 550 lawmakers from the Provincial Council are eligible to vote. They all have the vote weightage of 23,356 with 10,319 votes from the Maoist Center.

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