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China congratulates Nepal President Bhandari on re-election

14 March 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday congratulates Bidya Devi Bhandari on assuming office as Nepal's president for a second term. Though the Nepali Congress led in the presidential elections with 11,428 votes from its 76 members in parliament 113 in provincial assemblies, the support of other smaller parties led to the victory of Bhandari.

Out of the 334 federal parliament members, 326 cast their votes in the presidential election held at the Federal Parliament building in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, today. After the death of her husband in a vehicle accident, she started participating in active politics and later elected as a lawmaker in Nepal Parliament in 1994 and chosen again in 1999.

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Meanwhile, Sushila Karki served as the country's first female chief justice until her retirement in 2017, shocking her political backers when she took a tough stance on Nepal's endemic corruption. Even this time, Oli strongly stood by her, arguing that she is "too young to retire" and must be elected for another term.

As a teenager, she joined a student wing of an underground communist party and married its charismatic leader Madan Bhandari, who died in a jeep crash in 1993.

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Bidya Devi Bhandari, who was backed by the ruling Communist bloc, was widely expected to defeat her sole opponent Kumari Laxmi Rai. She won the by-election from Kathmandu-1 defeating the former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai of Nepali Congress.

She also led the UML's sister wing All Nepal Women Association for around two decades. Constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari said: "She was dragged into controversy because she was seen as favouring one party over another when it came to approving the National Assembly nominees, but we must also bear in mind that she had stalled the nominations made by a caretaker government".

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China congratulates Nepal President Bhandari on re-election