Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pratibha Patil named India's first female president

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India lawmakers elected Pratibha Patil as the country's first female president Saturday in a vote seen as a symbolic victory for the nation's women who contend with widespread discrimination.

Patil, the 72-year-old candidate of the governing Congress party and its political allies, received 65.82 percent of the votes cast by national lawmakers and state legislators.

She defeated incumbent Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Her candidacy was dogged by unprecedented mudslinging from the moment it was agreed upon by coalition members, marring the usually genteel process of presidential elections.

Opponents derided her nomination, saying she lacked the national stature for the job and her only qualification was her unswerving loyalty to the powerful Gandhi family. Link

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