Friday, August 03, 2007
NEW YORK — In a landmark victory, Pratibha Patil will become India's first female president after she won almost two-thirds of the votes cast by state assemblies and the country's parliament on Saturday, according to media reports.
Patil, 72, the candidate of the governing Congress Party, defeated incumbent Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, reports said. Patil's candidacy was supported by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.
India's presidents have a mostly ceremonial role, but Patil's election is seen as a boost to Indian women, many of whom still confront widespread discrimination.
Patil will be sworn in as president for a five-year term on July 25.
Her most recent position was governor of the northern state of Rajasthan. Earlier in her career, Patil worked as a lawyer, a state legislator, a minister in the Maharashtra state government, as well as a member of the Indian Parliament.
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