NEW DELHI — Hoping to end a three-week political crisis and reluctant to call new elections less than a year after the last national vote, India's president on Sunday accepted Inder Kumar Gujral as the country's new prime minister. Gujral was sworn in early today.
President Shankar Dayal Sharma gave the 77-year-old Gujral, an urbane two-time foreign minister and former ambassador to Moscow, two days to prove his United Front coalition has a majority in Parliament, which opens a special session today to debate the national budget. The president set a parliamentary vote of confidence for the new government for Tuesday.
Citing "considerations relevant to the national interest," Sharma said he decided against holding a midterm poll "so soon after the general elections held in 1996."
Gujral's appointment was widely seen as a compromise move that many hope will stabilize the shaky political scene. No single political party holds a majority in the lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha. The latest crisis was precipitated when the once-dominant Congress Party withdrew its support for Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, the outgoing United Front leader.