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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 20:20 GMT
Arnie becomes California governor
Schwarzenegger (left) is sworn in by Chief Justice Ronald George (right), with the actor's wife Maria Shriver (centre) looking on
Schwarzenegger was sworn in by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George
Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger has been sworn in as the 38th governor of California.

The Austrian immigrant took the oath of office before an audience of 7,500 dignitaries and supporters on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento.

"I am humbled, I am honoured and I am moved beyond words to be your governor," the former bodybuilder said.

Mr Schwarzenegger has said he will tackle California's massive budget deficit without raising taxes.

Car tax

Despite having no prior experience as an elected official, Republican candidate Mr Schwarzenegger, 56, was elected last month in a poll that unseated Democratic Governor Gray Davis.

I enter this office beholden to no one except you, my fellow citizens... I pledge my governorship to your interests, not to special interests
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Mr Davis - a guest of honour at the inauguration - was heavily criticised for his handling of the state's finances.

California, the richest and most populated state in the United States, has a budget deficit of up to $25bn.

In his speech, Mr Schwarzenegger said his first act would be to sign an executive order abolishing the unpopular car tax introduced by Governor Davis.

Critics say that such a step will only worsen the state's finances.

'Low-key'

The ceremony itself was billed as low-key, given California's financial problems.

Despite this, it was transmitted live on American television, attended by Hollywood celebrities and covered by hundreds of journalists.

Former Miss America Vanessa Williams, who appeared with Mr Schwarzenegger in the 1995 film Eraser, sang the American national anthem.

Despite his convincing win, Mr Schwarzenegger's campaign was dogged by accusations that he had sexually harassed women.

In response, he apologised for "rowdy behaviour" on film sets and said there would be an independent investigation into the allegations.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Matt Frei
"From Austrian bodybuilder... to governor of the world's fifth richest economy"



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