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  Monday, August 26, 2019
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Russia's lower house of parliament approved Vladimir Putin as prime minister
Russia's lower house of parliament approved Vladimir Putin as prime minister on Thursday, a day after he stepped down as president following eight years as head of state.

All 448 lawmakers were in parliament for the vote. 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 Communists voted against Putin.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, sworn in on 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 after the inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin.

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."

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 as 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 the late Boris Yeltsin. He then replaced Yeltsin as head of state after the ailing leader's surprise resignation in 2000.


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