Bidya Devi Bhandari

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Bidya Devi Bhandari
विद्यादेवी भण्डारी
Shinzo Abe and Bidhya Devi Bhandari at the Enthronement of Naruhito (1) (cropped).jpg
Bhandari in 2019
2nd President of Nepal
Assumed office
29 October 2015
Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli
Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Vice President Nanda Kishor Pun
Preceded by Ram Baran Yadav
Minister of Defence
In office
25 May 2009 6 February 2011
PresidentRam Baran Yadav
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal
Preceded by Ram Bahadur Thapa
Succeeded by Bijay Kumar Gachhadar
Minister for Environment and Population
In office
25 March 1997 7 October 1997
Monarch King Birendra
Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
November 1994 April 2008
Preceded by Daman Nath Dhungana
Succeeded by Jhakku Prasad Subedi
Constituency Kathmandu–2
In office
January 1994 August 1994
Preceded by Madan Bhandari
Succeeded by Man Mohan Adhikari
Constituency Kathmandu–1
Member of the Constituent Assembly / Legislature Parliament
In office
28 May 2008 28 October 2015
ConstituencyParty list
Personal details
Born
Bidya Pandey

(1961-06-19) 19 June 1961 (age 60)
Mane Bhanjyang, Nepal
Political party Independent (2015–present)
Other political
affiliations
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (before 2015)
Spouse(s) Madan Bhandari (1982–1993; his death)
Children2
ParentsRam Bahadur Pandey (father)
Mithila Pandey (mother)
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater Tribhuvan University

Bidya Devi Bhandari (Nepali : विद्यादेवी भण्डारी, pronounced  [ˈbidjadebi ˈbʱʌɳɖaɾi] ; born 19 June 1961) is a Nepalese politician, serving as the second president of Nepal, in office since 28 October 2015. She is the first woman to hold the office in the country. [1] [2] She served as the vice-chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and was the chair of the All Nepal Women's Association before being elected president. [3] [4] [5]

Contents

Bhandari previously served as the Minister of Defence, the first woman to hold the office, from 2009 to 2011. [6] [7] [8] She also served as the Minister of Environment and Population in 1997, and has been an active campaigner for environmental awareness and women rights in Nepal. [9] In June 2017, she visited the headquarters of the IUCN in Gland, Switzerland and met with the director general Inger Andersen to discuss about enhanced collaboration on nature conservation and sustainable development. [10] In 2016, Forbes placed her on number 52 in their list of the world's 100 most powerful women. [4]

Early life

Bhandari was born on 19 June 1961, in Mane Bhanjyang, Bhojpur, to Ram Bahadur Pandey and Mithila Pandey. [11] Her political career began from a leftist student union. She joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist) in 1980. [12]

Political career

Meeting with the BIMSTEC leaders in Kathmandu, Nepal on August 30, 2018 The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi along with the BIMSTEC leaders calls on the President of Nepal, Ms. Bidya Devi Bhandari, in Kathmandu, Nepal on August 30, 2018 (1).JPG
Meeting with the BIMSTEC leaders in Kathmandu, Nepal on August 30, 2018

Bhandari was active in politics from an early age. According to the details provided by the CPN (UML), Bhandari joined politics as an activist of the Youth League of CPN (ML) in 1978, from Bhojpur. [13] She played a role as an in-charge for Eastern Zone Committee of ANNFSU from 1979 to 1987. Her active political journey, however, started when she received party membership from the CPN (ML) in 1980. After completing her school level study, Bhandari was enrolled in Mahendra Morang Adarsha Multiple Campus where she was elected treasurer of the students' union. Also, she played a pivotal role as a chairperson of the women's wing of GEFONT from 1993 before being elected a central committee member of the CPN (UML) in 1997.

Bhandari was first elected to the parliament in a by-election in January 1994, caused by the death of her husband, the sitting member from Kathmandu–1, where she defeated former prime minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. In the 1994 general election, she was elected from Kathmandu–2, defeating house speaker Daman Nath Dhungana. [14] She served as the Minister for Environment and Population in a coalition government led by prime minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand in 1997. She was re-elected from Kathmandu–2 in the 1999 general election. However, she was defeated in the 2008 Constituent Assembly poll, and was later nominated under the proportional electoral system. She served as the Minister of Defence in the cabinet of prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. She was re-elected under the proportional electoral system in the 2013 elections. Her influence in the party remained dominant when she was elected as vice-chairperson of the CPN (UML) in its eighth general convention held in Butwal. [15] Bhandari, who was re-elected vice-chairperson in the party's next general convention, is considered a close confidante to party chairman and prime minister KP Sharma Oli.

After the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015, Bhandari was elected president by an indirect election held in the parliament on 28 October 2015. She defeated Nepali Congress' Kul Bahadur Gurung, receiving 327 votes against Gurung's 214 votes. She thus became Nepal's second president and first female head of state. She was re-elected in 2018, defeating Congress' Kumari Laxmi Rai.

Controversies

Bhandari has been accused of taking a partisan stance since she was elected president. She held onto the National Assembly election ordinance delaying the formation of the government after the 2017 legislative elections. She also held the nomination of three members to National Assembly sent by the outgoing Deuba government but immediately approved the nominations sent in by the incoming Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. [16]

Bhandari has been accused of taking a partisan when she approved both the decisions of cabinet to dissolve the House of Representatives against the Constitution of Nepal. She did not appoint Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister of Nepal, although showing majority signature present in House. Instead she dissolved parliament supporting KP Sharma Oli. The decision was challenged by the Supreme Court of Nepal, along with signature of majority (146) MPs. [17] On 12 July 2021, the Supreme Court stated the decision of parliament dissolution by Bhandari was unlawful. [18] Similarly, it ordered to appoint Deuba as the next prime minister of Nepal citing article 76(5) of the Constitution of Nepal within 28 hours. It stated that the decision made by Bhandari was against the norms of the constitution. This was celebrated by the then opposition alliance led by the Nepali Congress, including allies CPN (Maoist Centre) and Janata Samajbadi Party. [19]

On 13 July 2021, Bhandari appointed Deuba as Prime Minister without including any article of Constitution and stating as per the order of Court. This created cold dispute and people alleged Bhandari of forgetting her limits and being tilted to Oli. After Deuba denied to take oath as per the appointment letter, it was changed and stated that Deuba was made Prime Minister in accordance with article 76(5) marking Deuba's fifth term as Prime Minister. [20]

On 15 July 2021, Bhandari appointed Kham Bahadur Khati in the post of attorney general. [21] Still she denied him taking oath in Rastrapati Bhawan in her presence. [22] Khati took oath at Supreme Court of Nepal which was first time in Nepal due to president denial. This biased behaviour was highly criticized by mainstream medias. [23]

Personal life

Bhandari was married to Madan Bhandari, a popular Nepalese communist leader, who died in a car accident near Dasdhunga, Chitwan in 1993. The couple have two daughters, Usha Kiran Bhandari and Nisha Kusum Bhandari. She is also related to Nepali Congress leader Gyanendra Bahadur Karki. [24]

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Third Oli cabinet

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References

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Political offices
Preceded by
Ram Baran Yadav
President of Nepal
2015–present
Incumbent