With all the domestic flap over the selection of Pratibha Patil as president, readers of this space may have missed the fact that all the Big Foreign Press (with the exception of Newsweek--hooray) have made much of the "election" of India's first female president.
Why is this notable? India has already had a female prime minister--the highest post in the land, with real political power. And three of the most powerful people in politics today, Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalitha and Mayawati, are women. The presidency, in contrast, is a wholly ceremonial post with little importance--less, even, than the US vice presidency.
To me, this news should get about the same amount of coverage (at least as a "victory for women"--that is, apart from the other political wranglgin) as what America's first woman vice president would receive 20 years after the first female president served two terms and became one of the most important political figures of the century (like Indira Gandhi). In other words: Very little.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
attn: foreign press - india's highest leader is called the prime minister
Posted by Jason Overdorf at 8:40 PM
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You really believe the VP post in America is still ceremonial?
Good point, though I think it will go back to being ceremonial after the Bush/Cheney tag team is finished. I don't see Hillary taking much advice from Obama or Edwards or that Clark guy that tried a last-minute run for president last go-around. And I don't see Giuliani letting ANYBODY upstage him.
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