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Bidhya Devi Bhandari contests for second term

13 March 2018

She became Nepal's first woman president in 2015.

Incumbent President Bidhya Devi Bhandari is standing in the fray for her second term challenged by Laxmi Rai from the Nepali Congress, but the mathematical calculation has shown the vote to swing for President Bhandari. As Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and other fringe parties also deciding to support Bhandari, she could easily garner 26,921 votes for her re-election.An electoral college, including members of parliament and provincial assemblies, will vote in the election.

The UML and its coalition partner, the former rebel Maoists, enjoy almost two-thirds majority in the parliament, which assured Bhandari's victory.

"Bhandari received the largest number of votes", Navaraj Dhakal, a spokesman for the Election Commission, said. The voting is expected to take place between 10 am to 3 pm, and the results would be made public on Wednesday, according to Bharat Raj Gautam, spokesperson at Parliament Secretariat.

She wielded considerable influence in the CPN-UML, one of the constituents of the Left Alliance, and was elected vice-chairperson of the party in its eighth general convention held in Butwal. A total of 78 federal lawmakers and 116 provincial lawmakers voted for Rai.

A total of 245 federal lawmakers and 415 provincial lawmakers voted in favour of Bhandari.

While Bhandari's elevation was smooth, local media reports indicated a tense meeting among the UML's top leaders during endorsement of the party's candidate for president.

Technically, a total of 334 members of the federal parliament, comprising 275 members of the House of Representatives, 59 of the National Assembly, and 550 members of Provincial Assemblies can vote in Tuesday's election. She has thus also set the record as the first female president of Nepal.

Bidhya Devi Bhandari contests for second term