Inaugurations around the World

The inauguration of the American President is a grand and lavish ceremony that tends to get a lot of press. But it's far from being the world's only inauguration ceremony. Every country on earth has some sort of ritual where they swear in their newly-elected leaders, though the customs of such events vary greatly from nation to nation.

Inaugurations always have some constants, however. There is always an oath of office to be recited, and there is almost always a second figure present who administers the oath to the Prime Minister or President-elect. A bible or other holy book is often present, as is a bound copy of the constitution.

United States of America- President
The President is sworn in outside, in front of the capitol buildings of Washington DC. The oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The President-elect repeats the oath, while holding one hand on the bible (held by his wife) and raising the other.

Ukraine- President

The Ukrainian President is sworn in inside the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. The President-elect stands at the front of the chamber and reads the oath of office while placing his hand on both the constituion and the bible. After the oath is taken the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court hands the new President the presidential chain and presidential mace.


Germany - President
The German president is sworn in before a joint session of the German Parliament inside the Reichstag building in Berlin. The oath of office is held before the President-elect by the President of the Bundestag (lower house). The President-elect reads it while raising his right hand.
(The inaugural ceremony for the German Chancellor is exactly the same).

Spain - President
The Spanish president is sworn in inside the Royal Place of Madrid, the residence of the monarch. He takes his oath while placing one hand on the constitution. The same table also contains a crucifix and an open bible. The King and Queen of Spain, as well as the outgoing president, stand off to the President-elect's left.

Canada- Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of Canada is sworn in inside Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. The clerk of the Queen's Privy Council holds the oath while the Prime Minister-elect reads it, holding a bible in his hands. The Governor General of Canada and her spouse sit at the front of the room.

Canada- Governor General

The Governor General of Canada is sworn in the Senate chamber of the Canadian Parliament, before a joint session of both houses. A justice of the Supreme Court of Canada administers the oath to the Governor General-designate. Normally, the designate places a hand on the bible while reciting the oath, but this Governor General specifically chose not to.

All the cabinet ministers sit at a special table in the center of the room, with the Prime Minister at the head. In this picture you can see him peering from between the Governor General and the judge.


Taiwan- President
The President of Taiwan is sworn in at the Presidential place in Taipei. The President-elect reads the oath while giving a full arm salute to a giant portrait of Sun Yet-San, the first President of the Republic of China.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is also present (not pictured).

India- Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of India is sworn in inside the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. The President of India (tan jacket) administers the oath to the Prime Minister-elect (blue turban). Both men hold copies of the oath.

Australia- Governor General
The Governor General of Australia is sworn in in the Australian Senate chamber before a joint session of Parliament. Wearing full regalia, he places one hand on the bible and reads the oath of office.

Similar ceremonies: Canada, Jamaica, other Commonwealth Realms.

Italy- Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of Italy is sworn in in the Presidential Palace in Rome. The Prime Minister-elect stands before the President of Italy and reads the oath of office. I have not been able to identify the other man (holding the paper), who also appears to be participating in the ceremony.

Russia- President
The President of Russia is sworn in in a special chamber in the Kremlin. The Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court administers the oath to the President-elect who repeats it while holding one hand on the constitution. The leaders of the two houses of parliament stand off to the side.

Similar ceremonies: Czech Republic, Slovakia, most Eastern European nations.

Indonesia- President
The President of Indonesia is sworn in in the upper chamber of the Indonesian parliament. While the President-elect reads the oath of office, a cleric holds a copy of the Koran above his head.

Hungary- Prime Minister

The Prime Minister of Hungary is sworn in in the upper chamber of the Hungarian Parliament. The President-elect stands at the front of the chamber and takes his oath while holding one hand over his heart and holding a small corner of the Hungarian flag in another. The flagpole is held by a member of the military.

Similar ceremonies: Bulgaria


El Salvador- President
The President of El Salvador in sworn in inside a chamber in the El Salvadorian Congress. The oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The President-elect repeats the oath, while holding one hand on the constitution (held by his wife) raising the other. After the President is sworn in, the former President (seen standing behind) takes off his sash of office and places it on the new President.

Zimbabwe- President
The President of Zimbabwe is sworn in outside, in front of the Zimbabwe parliament houses. The President-elect, wearing full regalia reads his oath while placing his hand on the bible which is sitting on a table in front of his (not seen). The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stands beside him.

Malaysia- Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is sworn-in at the Royal Palace in Kuala Lumpur. The Prime Minister-elect stands before the King of Malaysia and reads the oath of office.

Similar ceremonies: Thailand, Japan, Nepal
Greece- Prime Minister
The Greek Prime Minister is sworn in at the Presidential palace in Athens. The oath is administered by the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox church, and several other clerics. The Prime Minister-elect repeats the oath while placing one hand on the bible.

Chile- President
The President of Chile is sworn inside the Senate chamber of the Chilean Congress in Valparaiso. The Senate President administers the oath to the President-elect, who repeats it while holding his hand over his heart. The outgoing President stands to the side, and when the new President is sworn in transfers the Presidential sash to him.
Pakistan- President

The President of Pakistan is sworn in in the Presidential Palace in Islamabad. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers the oath of office and the President-elect repeats it. They both hold copies of the oath.

Similar ceremonies: India

Nigeria- President

The President of Nigeria is sworn in outside, in Eagle Square in Abuja. The oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a clerk. The President-elect repeats the oath while raising one hand and holding the Bible (or Koran, depending on his faith).

Honduras- President

The President of Honduras is sworn in outside, in the National Stadium in Tegucigalpa. The Congressional President holds a microphone and administers the oath of office. The President-elect repeats the oath while resting a hand on the bible (held by his wife).

Sierra Leone - President

The President of Sierra Leone is sworn in inside the Presidential Palace in Freetown. The President-elect reads the oath of office while holding a copy of the Koran. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stands to his left.

Similar ceremonies: Zambia, Malawi

Algeria- President

The President of Algeria is sworn in inside the Presidential Palace in Algiers. He reads the oath of office while placing one hand on the Koran.


Israel- President

The President of Israel is sworn in before a joint session of the the Knesset (parliament). The President-elect places one hand on a book of Hebrew scriptures and raises the other. The Knesset Speaker administers the oath of office and the President-elect repeats it. The outgoing President stands to the side. All the men wear the yarmulke, the traditional Jewish cap.


Philippines - President

The President of the Philippines is sworn in outside in Cebu city. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers the oath. The President-elect repeats the oath while placing one hand on the bible (held by his wife, or in this picture, his son) and raising the other. This picture is actually of the Vice-President's inauguration, but the ceremony is exactly the same for the President.


Iran - President

The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran takes his oath of office inside a mosque in Tehran, the nation's capital. The outgoing president hands the presidential seal of office to Iran's Supreme Leader and Head of State. The Supreme Leader then hands the seal to the new president, and administers the oath of office.

On the wall is a portrait of the Ayatollah Khomeni, the founder and first leader of the Islamic Republic.


Poland - President

The actual oath-taking ceremony of the Polish President is not that spectacular; it's largely the same as the ceremony in Hungary (see above.) The President just stands before a session of the parliament and recites the oath.

Afterwards, however, there are some unique follow-up customs. One of them is the President's assumption of duties as Commander-in-Chief. Here we see the President kneeing before three army officers and kissing the flag of the Polish armed forces, as part of his inauguration as supreme commander.


Tanzania - President
 

Like most African Presidents we've seen, the Tanzanian president is sworn in outside, in a public ceremony in the national capital. The Chief Justice (in red, note how he is not wearing the wig) administers the oath to the president-elect (far left), who reads it off a special plaque.

In the second photo we can see the second phase of the inauguration, where the new president is presented with a special ceremonial spear and shield, which are the insignias of the presidency and decorated with Tanzania's national colors.