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Maoists' Choice Rejected in Nepal's First Presidential Election


Lawmakers in Nepal have elected the new republic's first president, rejecting a candidate backed by former Maoist rebels.

Ram Baran Yadav of the Nepali Congress Party won a majority of ballots cast Monday in Nepal's Constituent Assembly, 308 votes to 282 for the Maoists' Ramraja Prasad Singh.

Yadav is a 61-year-old physician from southern Nepal's ethnic Madheshi community, and a former health minister.

His office is largely ceremonial, but some analysts say the election could create further political uncertainty, because Nepal's Maoists had hoped to win both the presidency and the premiership.

Maoist officials say their party is now reconsidering whether to form a coalition government. Nepal's former Maoist rebels won the most votes in a historic election in May, but fell short of a majority in parliament.

Despite that, the Maoists were able to form a special assembly that abolished Nepal's 239-year-old monarchy. The former rebels took part in elections under a 2006 peace deal that ended a decade of civil war in the Himalayan nation.

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