St. Petersburg Governor Matviyenko resigns, on track to become Russia’s No. 3

August 22nd, 2011 - 8:12 pm ICT by BNO News  

MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday accepted the resignation of St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko after a landslide election victory which puts her on course to assume one of the country’s most powerful roles.

United Russia politician Matviyenko served as governor of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second city, since October 2003 and is a close ally of Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin. She submitted her resignation to the Kremlin on Monday.

“According to the Decree, the President has accepted the resignation of the governor of St. Petersburg, Valentina Matviyenko,” the Kremlin said in a statement. The decree, released by its press office, said Georgy Poltavchenko has been appointed Acting Governor of St. Petersburg.

Matviyenko on Sunday won by-elections held in the two St. Petersburg municipalities of Petrovsky and Krasnenkaya Rechka for a municipal mandate. According to official results, the politician won 93.71 percent of the votes in Petrovsky district and 94.5 percent in the Krasnenkaya Rechka district.

The results put her on track to become a senator in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council, where she may take over as its Speaker. Most senators have already pledged to elect Matviyenko as Speaker, a position which has been vacant since May and is Russia’s third most powerful job.

On Friday, responding to speculation, Matviyenko told reporters in St. Petersburg that she has ‘no ambitions’ to participate in the presidential elections in March 2012. Both Putin and Medvedev are expected to participate in the elections, as well as Communist Gennady Zyuganov.

If Matviyenk succeeds to become Speaker of the Federation Council, she would be Russia’s most powerful woman since Catherine the Great who reigned as Empress of Russia from July 1762 until November 1796.

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