Nepal just announced its new leader, and she’s a woman

By Kate Hassett

Nepal just announced its new leader, and she’s a woman
After significant political upheaval, a female president has been elected leader of Nepal for the first time in history.

For the past year Nepal has been recovering from the devastation that saw roughly 35,000 people affected and thousands killed after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake decimated the nation.

Aside from the national devastation that followed the natural disaster, the country has also been experiencing significant political turmoil, following its decision to adopt an entirely new constitution.

For the first time in history, the constitution declared a mandate that institutionalised the need for a woman to be placed in the office of either president or vice president, and to allocate one-third of parliamentary seats for women.

This landmark constitutional ruling saw Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Nepal’s first female president, elected this week.

Devi is a member of the Unified Marxist-Leninist Communist party and with her election, will become Nepal’s second president, as the country was previously ruled by a monarch.

She is operating under a pro-women and minorities platform that focusses on the fair treatment of classes that had previously been pushed aside in the Nepalese community.

Devi has been tasked with redefining the responsibilities and role of a president. As is customary, the president fulfils what some would call, a “ceremonial” position, with most of the power being placed in the hands of the country’s Prime Minister – Khadga Prasad Oli.

Hopefully her election means a changing of the guard for Nepalese politics and betterment of policies that affect the population in the aftermath of disaster.

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