On Wednesday, Nepal made history by electing its first female president. This came after a landslide victory against the opposing party’s contender.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari, 54, who has always been an advocate of women’s rights, became the Nepal’s first female president, after winning against her opponent, NC leader, Kul Bahadur Gurung.
Bhandari, who earned 327 votes against Gurung’s 214, was the wife of Nepal’s popular communist leader, Madan Bhandari. Her husband was mysteriously killed in 1993 prompting a revival in her political career.
Prior to the elections, Bhandari was active in lobbying a change in the country’s constitution, stating that either a president or a vice-president be a woman, New York Times reports.
Her position, though mostly ceremonial, is celebrated in the country as a welcome change. The new Constitution also requires one-third of the country’s lawmakers be women.
Bhandari, a mother of two daughters, left the limelight of the political world to stay at home and support her then husband, who was the General Secretary of the unified CPN (UML) party, the unification of the CPN (ML) and the CPN (Marxist) parties. She only went back after her husband was killed in a car accident, which remains a mystery until now.
Despite her political views, Bhandari is not deemed a full-pledged feminist by some feminists in her country. Nepal Times reports that she previously attacked the feminist movement due to the alleged influence of the Western values on them, Nepal Times reports.