Kathmandu: Veteran Nepali Congress leader Ram Baran Yadav was today elected as the first President of Nepal, defeating a Maoist-backed candidate and marking a shift in the political equation after the former rebels won the landmark elections in April.
The Madhesi leader secured 308 votes in the run-off presidential election held after the first round on Saturday failed to produce any clear winner. The 594 member-strong Constituent Assembly rejected Maoist nominee Ramraja Prasad Singh who managed to win only 282 votes.
The election of the President is considered as a key step to end the three-month-long political deadlock that has plagued the nation since the abolition of the 240-year-old monarchy.
However, Yadav bagging the top post may lead to further complications as the Maoists have now been sidelined by the three other major parties that ganged to deny the former rebels a share in power.
The polling that began at 8 am saw 590 lawmakers casting their votes, with the four members of pro-royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party abstaining.
In the first round, Yadav, a choice of the NC-CPN(UML)-Madhesi People’s Rights Forum combine, fell 15 votes short of the magic figure of 298 needed to win.
Ram Raja Prasad Singh, a die-heard republican who was earlier perceived as the front-runner, got a jolt as the non-Maoist parties propped up the candidature of Yadav at the last moment.