The ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in India Friday announced that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee would be its candidate for the presidential elections slated for July 19.

Leaders of the constituent parties of the UPA met. It was decided to propose Pranab Mukherjee as candidate for the office of the President of India, Congress party president Sonia Gandhi said after the meeting.  

Mukherjee (77) will step down June 24 to contest the presidential elections and is expected to file his nomination June 25.

Mukherjee's resignation from the Financial Ministry is coming at a time when the country is facing an economic slowdown. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to take over the finance portfolio.

The UPA appealed to all political parties to support Mukherjee's nomination to the largely ceremonial post.

His candidature was announced amidst the opposition from UPA's key ally, the Trinamool Congress. With the probability that Mukherjee will not get the support of the Trinamool, the UPA will have to depend on the support of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to ensure his win.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led opposition alliance (National Democratic Alliance) is expected to announce its candidate in a day.