Nepal has sworn in its first president, nearly two months after lawmakers abolished the monarchy and established the Himalayan nation as a republic.

Ram Baran Yadav took the oath of office in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, Wednesday.  The 61-year-old physician is a former health minister from southern Nepal's ethnic Madheshi community. He has pledged to unite the country as he takes on the ceremonial position.

After Mr. Yadav was sworn in, Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala formally submitted his resignation. Koirala announced his decision to step down last month.

The new president is a member of the Nepali Congress party.  He won the most votes in the constituent assembly on Monday - defeating the Maoist candidate.  

Maoist leaders said Monday's loss shows they do not have the support to lead a coalition government and instead they will continue to act as the opposition.

The former communist rebels had hoped to hold the posts of both president and prime minister.  The group holds the most seats in the constituent assembly after April's election, but do not have a majority.

The Maoists ended their decade-long insurgency and agreed to join the government two years ago.  More than 13,000 people died in insurgency-related violence. 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.