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Duma elects new speaker, registeres four factions
MOSCOW - Boris Gryzlov, leader of the United Russia party, was elected speaker of the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, at the first session of the newly elected legislature on Dec., 29. He received 352 votes with 15 against votes and 4 abstentions. As reported earlier, Gryzlov resigned from the post as interior minister last week. Among other candidates were Communist party member Ivan Melnikov, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Rodina (Motherland) bloc representative Sergey Baburin. During the session, the Duma formally registered four factions,which are the United Russia, the Communist Party of Russian Federation (KPRF), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and the Rodina (Homeland) bloc. In the Dec. 7 elections, the United Russia, the pro-Putin's party, won 300 seats in the 450-seat lower chamber. The LDPR and Rodina, the likely allies of United Russia, each won 36 seats. TheKPRF, the main opposition party, won only 52 seats. The overwhelming victory of the pro-Putin United Russia with a two-third majority in the Duma will make it possible to revise theconstitution. Putin has announced he will run for a second term and is widelyexpected to be re-elected in the next March presidential election.
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