After being the country’s interim leader, Rosa Otunbayeva (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk) became president of the troubled republic of Kyrgyzstan.
Last April, bloody street riots ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
The former foreign minister becomes the first female president of an ex-communist Central Asian country.
Otunbayeva’s inauguration comes days after a referendum on a new constitution which will create the region’s first parliamentary democracy.
She took the oath of office in Bishkek, the country’s capital, at a Soviet-era concert hall.
More than 90% of ballots cast in Sunday’s referendum were in favour of the constitution, said Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission.
Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed in April, and about 400,000 people were displaced. Many of them were from the minority ethnic Uzbek community.
The official death toll from the violence that tore through Osh and Jalal-Abad currently stands at around 300, according to the AP news agency.
But according to Otunbayeva as many as 2,000 people died in the rioting.
Most of the unrest was said to involve mobs of ethnic Kyrgyz attacking and setting fire to ethnic Uzbek districts.
Although the violence has abated, the country’s Uzbek and Kyrgyz populations remain deeply divided. But ethnic Uzbeks have largely supported the interim government.
On Friday, acting Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Tekebayev, who played a crucial part in drawing up the new constitution, said he would step down from the Cabinet later this month in order to prepare for October elections.
His resignation followed Otunbayeva’s appeal for prospective candidates in her interim Cabinet to resign.
She said that was the only way to ensure a level playing field in the parliamentary vote, AP reports.
Last month violence was so severe that the Kyrgyz government appealed to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops. However Moscow rejected the request, offering instead technical assistance to track those committing the violence.
The Red Cross (ICRC) described the situation as an “immense crisis”.