Indian lawmakers vote for president

July 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

NEW DELHI, July 19 (UPI) -- Members of India's parliament voted Thursday to elect a new president, officials said.

At least 72 percent of 776 members of parliament and the 4,120 members of the legislative assembly have already voted, Press Trust of India reported.

Pranab Mukherjee, of the ruling United Progressive Alliance party, is the predicted winner of the race, CNN said Thursday. Mukherjee is running against P.A. Sangma, a former speaker of the Indian parliament.

In India, the president acts as the head of state, while the prime minister is in charge of the government.

Should there be a split parliament during the 2014 general election, the president would help decide who forms the next government, said political commentator K.G. Suresh.

"Now we have a coalition era. We do not know in 2014, when the parliament election takes place, which party would be able to get a clear majority," Suresh said. "If it doesn't happen, the president of India has to then take a call as to whom to invite [to form the government] within the parameters of the constitution of India."

Results from the vote are expected to be made public Sunday.

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