Nepal elects first woman speaker -- an ex-guerrilla fighter

Creating history, the Nepali parliament on Friday unanimously elected as speaker former guerrilla fighter Onsari Gharti Magar -- the first woman to grace the office in the Himalayan nation

Kathmandu: Nepalese lawmakers on Friday elected the country's first woman speaker of Parliament following formation of a new government after promulgation of the Constitution. Parliament unanimously elected UCPN-Maoist lawmaker Onsari Gharti Magar as the Speaker of the House.

Nepal's Constituent Assembly was converted into the legislative Parliament after the promulgation of the Constitution on September 20 following which K P Sharma Oli was elected as the new prime minister defeating incumbent Sushil Koirala in a contest which became necessary after parties failed to forge a consensus amid violent protests over the country's new Constitution.

Gharti was elected unanimously to the post after Nepal Workers and Peasants Party withdrew the candidacy of its lawmaker Anuradha Thapa Magar.

With the victory, Gharti became the first woman to lead the legislative body in Nepal's parliamentary history. Earlier she had served as Deputy Speaker in Parliament.

Gharti was backed by the ruling coalition, consisting of CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic and some fringe parties. The main opposition Nepali Congress had also extended support to her candidacy.

Gharti Magar is a former Maoist guerrilla who carried a gun during the decade-long Maoist insurgency that ended in 2006. She belongs to the ethnic Magar community of western Nepal and hails from the remote underdeveloped Rolpa district from where the Maoists launched their armed rebellion in 1996. 

During the civil war, she married Maoist commander Barsha Man Pun.

Similarly, Ganga Prasad Yadav has also been elected Deputy Speaker of the Parliament unanimously.

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