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India's ruling party names candidate for presidency

NEW DELHI -- India's ruling Congress party named Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its nominee for president on Friday, capping a week of political turmoil that exposed the fragility of a coalition government that has lurched between crises as the economy sputters.

Mukherjee is expected to step down by June 24, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could take charge of his portfolio for the next several months, a source close to the finance minister told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Singh's reputation as the architect of landmark economic reforms in 1991 that unleashed two decades of faster growth has been badly tarnished by widespread criticism of his leadership. Investors and business leaders complain that his government has favored populist policies that fail to rein in spending on subsidies and bring down stubbornly high inflation.

There is no obvious successor to Mukherjee, but analysts said filling the vacancy was less important than the government overcoming internal divisions that have led to policy flip-flops on major economic reforms and scared off investors.

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