Putin fires Fradkov, nominates Zubkov as Prime Minister

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Moscow, Sep 12 (UNI) Russian President Vladimir Putin today fired Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and nominated the country's financial regulator, Viktor Zubkov as the new premier.

State Duma (Lower House) speaker Boris Gryzlov said Parliament would vote to confirm Mr Zubkov as Prime Minister on Friday.

"The decision was made today at a Duma meeting," First Deputy Speaker of the United Russia faction, Lyubov Sliska told journalists.

The question will be considered on September 14 at 1230 hrs Moscow time, she said.

Mr Zubkov, 66, heads the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, and came as an unexpected candidate amid speculation that First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov would left the post.

Earlier, Mr Putin accepted the resignation of Mr Fradkov, asking him to stay on as acting head of government until the Duma votes to confirm Zubkov's candidacy for Prime Minister.

Mr Fradkov offered to resign, citing "approaching significant political events," Itar-Tass news agency reported.

"We all have to think together how to build a structure of power so that it better corresponds to the pre-election period and prepares the country for the period after the presidential election in March," Mr Putin said. Duma's elections are to be held in December.

Mr Putin is barred by Russia's constitution from running for a third term as President in elections in March.

Mr Zubkov is reported to have close ties with the President, both men having worked for the St Petersburg city administration, in early 1990.

From 1993 to 2000, he worked for the Federal Tax Service and Tax Ministry.


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