Benazir Bhutto took the oath of office as prime minister Friday, assuming the job her father lost in a coup 11 years ago and ushering in a new era of democracy.
About 300 Pakistani officials, lawmakers and foreign ambassadors attended the 15-minute ceremony in the Presidency, a flat, modern building between the Senate and National Assembly in the federal capital.After reciting the oath and signing it, Bhutto received an extended round of applause that was drowned out when members of her Pakistan People's Party rose and cheered "Bhutto Lives."
Bhutto's government must still pass a confidence vote in the National Assembly within 60 days but her party and its partners appear strong enough to survive.
Bhutto, a 35-year-old U.S.-educated woman, emerged as the country's leader Thursday when President Ghulam Ishaq Khan chose her as prime minister.
Thousands of people jammed city streets Thursday, dancing, beating drums and chanting "Long live Benazir!"
The president also declared an end to a state of emergency imposed after former leader Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq's death in August. He said he took the action "so the new prime minister can take up her responsibility in an environment of complete democracy."
Pakistan officially returned to democracy when the National Assembly and four provincial legislatures were sworn in Wednesday.
Zia was killed in a plane crash Aug. 17. Elections had already been scheduled for Nov. 16.
Bhutto's populist Pakistan People's Party won 105 seats in the 237-seat National Assembly, and she is said to have enough support among minor parties and independents for a majority coalition.
An eight-party grouping called the Islamic Democratic Alliance, which includes Zia loyalists, won only 60 seats.