New Indian president is sworn in | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 25.07.2012
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New Indian president is sworn in

Veteran politician Pranab Mukherjee has been sworn in as India's 13th president in an elaborate ceremony in the capital New Delhi on Wednesday.

Mukherjee traveled to parliament on Wednesday in a bulletproof limo escorted by an honor guard on horseback and security jeeps. The blaring of bugles greeted him on arrival.

The oath of office was administered in the central hall of Parliament, bedecked in flowers, by the Chief Justice of India's Supreme Court S.H. Kapadia. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi were also present.

After the ceremony, soldiers sounded a 21-gun salute as hundreds of lawmakers applauded.

In India's parliamentary system, the prime minister heads the government while the post of president, who is head of state, is ceremonial and non-partisan.

However, it also comes with crucial powers in case of emergencies such as a hung parliament. Analysts have speculated that this might be the result of the 2014 elections. In such a case, Mukherjee would decide who to call on to form a government.

Born on December 11, 1935 in West Bengal's Birbhum district, Mukherjee studied political science, history and law at Calcutta University. Before turning to politics he worked as a teacher, journalist and lawyer.

Pranab Mukherjee in Kolkata

Mukherjee resigned his post of finance minister to run for president

Nicknamed Mr Fix-it, Mukherjee was second-in-command to Manmohan Singh, as well as a key player in dealing with troublesome allies and a series of problems that have dogged the government in recent years.

As finance minister, he was criticized for failing to push through promised reforms at a time when the economy is facing slowing growth and high inflation.

He has attracted controversy too, for example over his refusal to cooperate with an investigation into the government's emergency rule in 1975.

Generally, however, the 76 year old enjoys the respect of most opposition politicians.

act / ac (dpa, AP)

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