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Profile: Ram Baran Yadav -- first Nepali president
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21:21, July 21, 2008

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Ram Baran Yadav from the Nepali Congress (NC) was elected the first Nepali president on Monday.

Hence, a leader from the marginalized Madhesi origin is due to become the first president of the world's youngest republic.

Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, the general secretary of the Nepali Congress, the second largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA), defeated Ram Raja Prasad Singh nominated by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M), the single largest CA party, in the second-round presidential election held on Monday.

"Nepal has still got many challenges to lead the peace process to a conclusion," Yadhav told Xinhua reporter during the presidential elections, "I would use my all efforts to establish peace and inclusive democracy."

Nepal abolished the 240-year-old Shah monarchy and implemented the federal democratic republic in the first CA meeting on May 28.

As a CA member, Ram Baran Yadav won the CA direct elections on April 10, bagging 10,392 votes from Constituency No. 5 of Dhanusa district.

He joined politics in the 1960s when the autocratic King Mahendra banned the activities of political parties blocking the democracy and beginning the absolute rule of monarchy.

A medical doctor by profession, Yadhav spent more than two decades in hospitals in south Nepal's Terai region before joining the movement of restoration of democracy in Nepal as a full-time politician in the 1990s.

He was in the team of doctors who underwent treatment to Nepal's first elected Prime Minister Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala during the last days of his life in the 1980s.

"I have been a successful doctor rather than successful politician," he said.

B.P. Koirala's social democratic ideology inspired him to be a politician, it is said.

As a Madhesi people, he stood firm against the demands of a single autonomous Madhesh state, claimed by some Madhesh-based political parties and played an important role to calm down the agitation that broke out in the southern plains of the country last year.

He said he would never support the politics of ethnicity.

"It is a nonsense idea to have a single Madhesh (state) because different colors of people live there. The Madhesi people want their right, not a separate territory," he said.

Yadav, who was elected into the legislature in 1999, and once served as the state minister, and minister for health in the cabinet in the 1990s led by the Nepali Congress.

The 64-year-old president was born in a middle class farmer family in the southern plains of Terai, Sapahi village of Dhanusa district, some 125 km south of the Nepali capital of Kathmandu.

"I was born 64 years ago, but according to my birth documents Iam only 61 years old, so the same age is filed on the presidential candidate nomination," the widower with two sons and a daughter revealed.

The first president of one of the world's poorest countries says he dreams of a "rich and peaceful country."

"The country couldn't progress because of our bad political culture," he said, adding that the country has a big challenge ahead to end the current transition and make the new constitution.

"The politics of consensus can only make our people rich and happy. If we unite and make our efforts for developing our small country by utilizing the natural resources and beauty of our country, we can be a rich country soon," said the newly elected president.


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