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Tatarstan's New President Sworn In

Outgoing President Mintimer Shaimiyev (right) embraces successor Rustam Minnikhanov at the inauguration ceremony.
KAZAN, Tatarstan -- Tatarstan's Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov has been inaugurated as the Russian republic's new president in a ceremony in Kazan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

After taking the oath in the Tatar and Russian languages, Minnikhanov was presented with the presidential standard and a banner of Tatarstan's coat of arms by outgoing President Mintimer Shaimiyev.

Tatarstan's political elite participated in the ceremony, as did foreign dignitaries such as Organization of Islamic Conference Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

Under Russian law, the Russian president nominates a presidential candidate for Tatarstan (and other republics), who must then be approved by the regional parliament.

Minnikhanov, 53, was appointed prime minister in 1998. A close associate of Shaimiyev, he has a reputation as an effective manager. He is also the author of Tatarstan's successful "e-government" project.

Minnikhanov is a motor-sports enthusiast and regular competitor in the FIA European Championships for Rallycross Drivers.

Shaimiyev, 73, has been president of Tatarstan since 1991 and was one of the longest-serving leaders of a Russian entity. He will assume a newly created, nonsalaried position as Tatarstan's state adviser.