Medvedev elected Russian president, officially

March 3rd, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead)
Moscow, March 3 (Xinhua) Dmitry Medvedev, first deputy prime minister of Russia, has won the country’s fifth presidential election by a landslide, the Central Election Commission (CEC) declared Monday. Medvedev garnered 70.23 percent out of the 99.5 percent of counted ballots, CEC Chairman Vladimir Churov told a press conference here.

A candidate must obtain more than 50 percent of votes for an outright victory. Otherwise, a run-off is held between the two frontrunners.

Medvedev, a lawyer by training, was backed by incumbent President Vladimir Putin as his successor, as the latter is constitutionally barred from a third consecutive term after eight years in office.

During his presidential campaign, Medvedev, a long time friend and a close ally of Putin, vowed to continue the political strategies set by Putin and further the economic growth and Russia’s prosperity.

Putin has said that he will accept the post of prime minister if Medvedev becomes president.

Putin and Medvedev graduated from the same law school of St. Petersburg Leningrad State University and have been known to each other for 17 years.

More than a decade apart, they both took courses under the guidance of Anatoly Sobchak, an outspoken democrat, at the university.

Sobchak later became mayor of St. Petersburg and he brought the two men together in the city hall, where Medvedev served as a legal consultant to the committee for external affairs, which was headed by Vladimir Putin.

Putin brought Medvedev to Moscow in 1999, shortly after the then president Boris Yeltsin resigned and handed Putin the presidency. Medvedev joined Putin’s staff and headed Putin’s election campaign in 2000.

From 2001 to 2003, besides his day-to-day responsibilities in the Kremlin staff supporting the president’s duties, Medvedev was also assigned to special projects.

These included heading the commission that oversaw the drafting and enactment of framework legislation on the reform of the civil service and looking at ways to best overhaul the judicial system.

Medvedev also helped Putin end the popular election of governors and pass other laws strengthening the Kremlin’s grip on politics.

Immediately after his arrival at the Kremlin, Medvedev took an active role at Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas giant. As its chairman, he helped Putin restore Kremlin’s control over the massive monopoly.

For most of his professional career, Medvedev had been a behind-the-scenes player. However, all that changed in November 2005, when Putin appointed him to a specially created post as first deputy prime minister in charge of five national projects.

The appointment made Medvedev the early favourite to succeed Putin as president. He also enjoyed extensive media coverage as a result of the national projects he oversaw, for which the government earmarked billions of dollars to improve health care, education, housing and agriculture.

On Dec 10, 2007, Putin publicly voiced his support for Medvedev to contest in the presidential race at a Kremlin news conference. The following day, Medvedev said, if elected, he would ask Putin to serve as his prime minister.

Medvedev was one of several St. Petersburg colleagues Putin summoned to Moscow when he ascended to power in the Kremlin.

Inside the Kremlin, Medvedev aligned himself with a group often described as the St. Petersburg lawyers or technocrats. He has brought several of his university colleagues to Moscow or placed them in prominent positions at state-controlled companies like Gazprom.

They are said to have a more liberal view on the state’s role in the economy, foreign policy and civil liberties than the Siloviki, the group of former security service officials.

Soft-spoken, and often described as friendly, Medvedev seems a far cry from what the public expects in a leader.

However, people who know Medvedev personally said he has many leadership traits, including a knack for learning quickly, the integrity to stand by what he believes, and the aptitude to work as a team player.

Medvedev’s colleagues in government describe him as loyal, competent and pragmatic.

The only child of his parents, Medvedev is a fan of hard rock from his early age. He lists Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin as his favourite bands.

He married his childhood friend Svetlana and they have a son named Ilya.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |