How India's presidency works
India holds an election for a new president on Thursday. Here are some key facts about the office.
* The president is elected to a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of members of both the houses of parliament and the state legislative assemblies. The winner of Thursday's vote will be announced on Saturday.
* The presidency, the titular head of state, is essentially a ceremonial power. Executive power in India is exercised by the prime minister and the cabinet.
* The president does have some discretionary powers in the appointment of the government, especially when no party wins a majority in parliamentary elections. He or she can invite the political alliance most likely to provide a stable government in the case of a hung parliament.
* The president can also send back some parliamentary bills for reconsideration. But the president cannot return the bill if parliament sends it for his assent for a second time.
* Incumbent A P J Abdul Kalam in 2006 returned for reconsideration a bill to prevent the disqualification of members of parliament holding "offices of profit". He signed it into law after parliament passed the bill again without changes.