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Nepal parliament elects first female president

KATHMANDU, (Xinhua) — 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.

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