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Nepal Parliament Elects First Female President

President Bidhya Bhandari, the country's first female president, waves after casting her vote alongside Nepali lawmakers in Kathmandu, Oct. 28, 2015.

Nepal's parliament has elected Bidhya Bhandari as the country's first female president.

The former defense minister received 327 votes against her opponent's 214 in parliament in the vote Wednesday to become the ceremonial head of state.

Bhandari, 54, served as the deputy leader of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal, known as the Unified Marxists Leninist, led by Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli.

She became a leading political figure after the death of her husband, former Communist leader, Madan Bhandari in 1993 and since then has actively campaigned for women's rights.

Her election comes shortly after Nepal's unveiling of a new constitution — the first since abolition of the long-ruling Hindu monarchy in 2008.

She becomes only the second president since the Himalayan nation was turned into a republic. The first was Ram Baran Yadav who was elected in 2008.