Woman communist leader is Nepal's new foreign minister
Apr 1, 2007 - 5:32:45 PM

Kathmandu, April 1 - Nepal's veteran trade union activist Sahana Pradhan was Sunday given the high profile foreign minister's job and will represent the country at the SAARC foreign ministers meet this week in New Delhi.

This is the third time Pradhan has become a minister. She is the senior most politician in the cabinet after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

Founder and chair of the Inter-Party Women's Caucus, Pradhan was chair of the Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist-Leninist.

Her husband Pushpa Lal Pradhan was founder of the Communist Party of Nepal.

Pradhan has a long relationship with India, especially West Bengal.Her husband lived in India in exile for 18 years during the panchayat system of government when parties were banned.

She herself obtained her graduate degree from Patna University in 1953. After a Masters in economics from Nepal's Tribhuvan University, she also enrolled in Delhi University for Ph.D but had to discontinue.

Pradhan's entry in the interim government was reportedly not liked by Koirala, who wanted former incumbent K.P. Oli to continue.

Pradhan, who has been fighting for women's rights, was once nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

In 1990, Pradhan held the industries ministry after a pro-democracy movement forced the then king Birendra to lift the ban on political parties.

From 1997 to 1998, she was minister for women, children and social welfare.

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