Presidential election on 19th July
An indirect election will be held to vote for a new president on 19th July. The post is largely ceremonial with the president being the head of the armed forces and he or she signs off all legislation, but executive powers rest with the prime minister and Cabinet.
Pratibha Patil the current president will end her term of office on 24th July.
Nominations will close on 30th June and the results will be declared on 22nd July according to the electoral commission.
The role of president has been a source of much debate and argument this year with Indian newspapers full of rumour about who might stand and who will be supporting whom. The person who is emerging as the front runner is Pranab Mukherjee, the current Minister of Finance and member of the Indian National Congress (INC); he is seen to be widely respected across party lines. He is likely to face a contest with the current Vice-President, Hamid Ansari.
The Electoral College consists of the two houses of the federal state, upper house (Council of States or Rajya Sabha), the lower house (House of People or Lok Sabha) and the elected members of the 28 states and seven union territories.