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Vidya Devi Bhandari takes oath as Nepal’s first woman prez

Vidya Devi Bhandari

Kathmandu : Vidya Devi Bhandari today took the oath of office as Nepal’s first woman president since the country was declared a republic after the 240-year-old monarchy was abolished in 2008.

Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly-elected president at a special function at Rastrapati Bhawan here.

Bhandari, 54, the vice-chairperson of CPN-UML was elected yesterday as the second president of the Republic of Nepal after the monarchy was abolished in the country in 2008.

She defeated Nepali Congress candidate Kul Bahadur Gurung during voting yesterday, to become the first female president of the country.

Bhandari has long campaigned for women’s rights and was among the politicians who pushed for ensuring women’s rights in the new constitution adopted last month.

The constitution says women need to be included in all government committees and assemblies including parliament and state assemblies.

Outgoing president Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, deputy prime ministers, ministers, former prime ministers, chiefs of constitutional bodies, leaders of various political parties, high government officials, and chiefs of diplomatic missions among others, were present at the function.

Yadav handed over the responsibility of the Office of the President to the newly-elected President Bhandari.

The Nepal Army presented a 21-gun salute and a guard of honour to Bhandari.

A special ceremony will be held at Sheetal Niwas as a farewell to outgoing President Yadav, who had served in the top post since 2008.

Meanwhile, India, China and the US have congratulated Bhandari on her election as the new president of Nepal.

These elections (election of Prime Minister and President) follow the promulgation of a Constitution and the formation of a new government, milestones in Nepal’s democratic development that demonstrates the Nepalese people’s commitment to democracy, an official US statement said.

The US looks forward to continuing to partner with the people and government of Nepal as they build a more unified, stable, and prosperous country and rebuild after the devastating earthquakes earlier this year, it said.

India’s ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae reached Bhandari’s residence here and extended congratulations on behalf of President Pranab Mukherjee.

The Chinese government also congratulated the newly- elected president on her election to the top post.

China’s Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai visited newly elected Bhandari’s residence and extended her congratulations on behalf President Xi Jinping.

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