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Modi’s Coalition Picks Tribal Woman as Presidential Candidate

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(Bloomberg) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coalition has selected Droupadi Murmu, a former governor of the eastern state of Jharkhand, as its candidate for the nation’s next president.

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Murmu, a tribal leader from the Odisha state, will face former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who has been nominated by a group of major opposition parties, including the Congress party and the Trinamool Congress. The elections will be held on July 18.

Murmu is favored to become the next president of the world’s second-most populous nation, with Modi’s alliance -- led by the Bharatiya Janata Party -- having more votes than the joint opposition group. If elected, Murmu will be the first tribal woman to become India’s president.

Although the post is largely ceremonial, the president holds India’s highest constitutional office and is the supreme commander of the armed forces. In the event of a hung parliament, the president plays a major role by deciding which party would form the government.

India’s president is chosen by an electoral college that consists of elected legislators from states and both houses of parliament.

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