Victorious Congress party reshapes Indian cabinet

India’s Congress party today began putting together a new Cabinet amid euphoria over its definitive election victory that will give the government a free hand to pursue economic reforms.

The country’s stock market surged over 17% when it opened. The rise was so dramatic it forced an end to the day’s trading.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired the last meeting of his outgoing Cabinet.

The near-collapse of India’s once-powerful communist parties will allow Mr Singh to pursue key reforms in insurance, pension funds, banking and retail.

The Congress-led coalition captured 261 seats in India’s 543-seat Parliament, far more than most analysts predicted, but still 11 short of a majority.

Congress leaders are expected to gather support from several smaller parties.

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