Russian parliament approves Medvedev as prime minister

Russian parliament approves Medvedev as prime minister
The Russian Lower House has approved Vladimir Putin’s longtime ally Dmitry Medvedev as cabinet chairman for a new term, despite opposition from leftist parliamentary caucuses.

Of 433 lawmakers, present at the Tuesday session of the State Duma, 374 voted in favor of Medvedev’s candidacy and 56 voted against. There were no abstentions. Earlier, representatives of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the center-left party Fair Russia said they would not support Medvedev’s nomination for the post as they considered the cabinet’s performance over the past years as 'extremely poor'.

Less than an hour after the Duma vote, Vladimir Putin signed a decree that appointed Dmitry Medvedev as the head of the government.

In accordance with Russian law, Medvedev’s government was dismissed after Vladimir Putin was sworn in as president on Monday, but all of its members continue to work until the new cabinet is formed. Also on Monday, Putin nominated Medvedev as prime minister, and the State Duma set the vote for Tuesday.

Dmitry Medvedev, 52, chaired the Russian government for the duration of Putin’s previous presidential term, from 2012. Before that, he served as Russian president for four years while Putin headed the government.

After being confirmed as prime minister, Medvedev has a week to present to the president his proposals on the structure of the new government, along with candidates for major cabinet posts. He already named several candidates for deputy positions at a Monday meeting with leaders of the parliamentary majority party United Russia.

Medvedev said he wants to expand the powers of Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and make him deputy PM in charge of economic development. Former Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov is poised to become deputy PM in charge of the defense industry. The head of the Russian Audit Chamber, Tatyana Golikova, has been nominated as deputy PM in charge of social policy, labor and healthcare, replacing Olga Golodets who, in turn, will be appointed deputy PM in charge of culture and sports.

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Other nominations include: former Agriculture Minister Aleksey Gordeyev, who is set to become deputy PM in charge of the agricultural sector; the deputy PM in charge of integration of the Crimean Republic, Dmitry Kozak, will become deputy PM in charge of industry and energy. The former sports minister and deputy PM in charge of sports issues, Vitaly Mutko, will oversee the construction sector and regional policies.

Medvedev noted that he is only proposing candidates for key posts in the government now and will nominate others later.

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