Putin is Russian prime minister (Lead)

May 8th, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, May 8 (RIA Novosti) Russia’s lower house of parliament or the State Duma Thursday approved Vladimir Putin as prime minister, a day after he stepped down as president following eight years as head of state. Putin was overwhelmingly approved as premier by 392 votes to 56.

The outcome of the vote was widely expected as the ruling pro-Kremlin United Russia party holds a two-thirds majority in the State Duma.

The Russian Communist Party voted against Putin.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, sworn in Wednesday, first offered the post of premier to Putin after being nominated as a presidential candidate by United Russia and three other pro-Kremlin parties in December.

He officially nominated Putin as premier immediately after taking office.

Speaking after the Duma vote, Medvedev said: “I am positive we will continue to enjoy fruitful cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of power, the like of which we witnessed today in the State Duma.”

Constitutionally barred from a third consecutive presidential term, Putin anointed his ally Medvedev as successor to run in the March presidential elections.

He also agreed to become premier in the event of Medvedev becoming head of state.

As premier, Putin will largely oversee the economy, but is also expected to retain a large degree of influence in other spheres.

Despite reassurances that the Putin-Medvedev ‘tandem’ will be able not only to co-exist, but also work together, many Russian and foreign political commentators are at a loss to explain exactly how this ‘power-sharing’ will work in practice.

However, ordinary Russians seem sure that ultimate power will remain with Putin, with more than two thirds of respondents stating in a poll carried out by the Levada Center in April that they believed the former KGB officer would “control” his hand-picked successor.

Putin briefly served as premier in 1999 under late Boris Yeltsin. He then replaced Yeltsin as head of state after the ailing leader’s surprise resignation in 2000.
RIA Novosti

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