Nepalese lawmakers vote for new president

Incumbent President Bidhya Devi Bhandari is tipped to win presidential election

Anadolu Agency

Nepalese lawmakers voted on Tuesday to elect the country’s new president, three months after the parliamentary elections were held in which a communist alliance won the largest number of seats.

Incumbent President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, fielded by the ruling Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) party, is tipped to win the presidential election.

Bhandari is seeking a second tenure after becoming the country’s first female president in October 2015 whereas Laxmi Rai, a leader of Nepali Congress, has stood from the opposition party.

Following the vote by lawmakers, Election Commission spokesman Mukunda Sharma said: “All the eligible lawmakers have cast their votes.”

The election results are expected later in the day.

Tuesday’s poll at the parliament in Kathmandu saw voting by 331 lawmakers of the national assembly and 549 from seven provincial assemblies.

Nepal held elections for its national parliament and provincial assemblies in November and December last year. The UML and a former Maoist rebel party that formed an electoral alliance in October won majority in both parliaments.

K.P. Sharma Oli, the UML chairman, was sworn in as Nepal’s 38th prime minister last month.

Nepal promulgated a post-war constitution in September 2015, fulfilling one of the key tasks of its peace process that began in 2006 after former Maoist rebels laid down their arms.