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    Presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leading member of the Greens Party, raises his arms in the Hofburg in Austria's capital Vienna Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016

    Alexander Van Der Bellen Sworn In as President of Austria

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    Former leader of the Austrian Green Alternative party (the Greens) Alexander Van der Bellen officially took office as the 9th Austrian President on Thursday.

    VIENNA (Sputnik) — Ven der Bellen, 73, elected in re-run in October after long and tense election campaign, took oath in the national parliament.

    "I promise to follow faithfully the constitution and all laws of the republic and to fulfill my role to the best of my knowledge and conscience," he said as he was sworn in as the head of state.

    Former President Heinz Fischer, whose term expired on July 8, 2016, as well as Chancellor Christian Kern and Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner, diplomats, journalists and representatives of the church were present at the ceremony.

    The federal president of Austria, elected by popular vote every six years, is the highest representative of the state and mostly acts as a ceremonial figurehead. He has the right to represent the country abroad, appoint and swear in the Federal Chancellor and the ministers, sign bills into laws or veto them, and some other rights and responsibilities.

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