Image: Ram Baran Yadav
Binod Joshi  /  AP
Nepal's first elected president, Ram Baran Yadav, talks on a cell phone in Katmandu on Saturday.  The three-way race for president  ended Monday when Nepal's governing assembly elected Yadav to be president.
updated 7/21/2008 3:32:44 PM ET 2008-07-21T19:32:44

Nepal's governing assembly on Monday elected the new republic's first president since it abolished the centuries-old monarchy in May, state-run television said.

Nepal Television said Constituent Assembly members elected Ram Baran Yadav, a physician from the Madheshi ethnic community in southern Nepal, which has been campaigning for greater rights and more say in the administration.

State-run television said an official announcement was expected later in the evening by assembly chairman Kul Bahadur Gurung. Yadav, of the Nepali Congress party, received more than half the votes in the 594-seat assembly that was required to win.

Yadav had the backing of his party, the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) and Madhesi People's Rights Forum — the second, third and fourth largest parties.

Yadav has served twice as the health ministry and elected twice in parliament elections. He has held senior positions in his Nepali Congress party.

Yadav had secured the most votes in initial voting for president on Saturday, but voting went to a second round because none of the three candidates were able to secure the required majority.

His closest opponent, Ramraja Singh, was backed by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), former communist rebels who have emerged as the largest political party in Nepal.

The Maoists won the most seats in the Constituent Assembly in April elections. Since the dissolution of the monarchy, the assembly has been unable to form a new government because the main parties have bickered over forming a ruling coalition.

The president will swear in the new prime minister, who will run the executive branch.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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