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The Constitution vests in the President of India all the executive powers of the Central Government. The President appoints as Prime Minister the person most likely to command the support of the majority in the Lok Sabha (usually the leader of the majority party or coalition). The President then appoints the other members of of Ministers, distributing portfolios to them on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Council of Ministers remains in power during the 'pleasure' of the President. In practice, however, the Council of Ministers must retain the support of the Lok Sabha. If a President were to dismiss the Council of Ministers on his or her own initiative, it might trigger a constitutional crisis. Thus, in practice, the Council of Ministers cannot be dismissed as long as it commands the support of a majority in the Lok Sabha. The President is responsible for making a wide variety of appointments. These include:
- Governors of States
- The Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts
- The Attorney General
- The Comptroller and Auditor General
- The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners
- The Chairman and other Members of the Union Public Service Commission
- Ambassadors and High Commissioners to other countries.
The President also receives the credentials of Ambassadors and High Commissioners from other countries. The President is the de jure of the Indian Armed Forces. The President of Indiareduce the sentence of a convicted person, particularly in cases involving punishment of death. The decisions involving pardoning and other rights by the president are independent of the opinion of the Prime Minister or the Lok Sabha majority. In most other cases, however, the President exercises his or her executive powers on the advice of the Prime Minister.