Russian Duma approves Zubkov as Prime Minister

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Moscow, Sep 14 (UNI) The State Duma, lower house of Parliament, today overwhelmingly approved, after a heated debate, President Vladimir Putin's nominee Viktor Zubkov as new Prime Minister.

In the 450-member house, 381 deputies voted in favour of Zubkov and 47 against with eight abstentions. The Communist Party faction opposed his candidacy.

Under the Russian constitution, the Duma was required to confirm the nomination of new Prime Minister after President Putin fired Mikhail Fradkov on Wednesday, replacing him with little-known Zubkov.

Addressing the House before the vote, Zubkov said economic stability and innovation will be the priorities for his government.

He also vowed to develop Russia's "traditionally strong sectors" such as the aircraft industry and shipbuilding.

''If I achieve something in the post of Prime Minister, I do not rule out that possibility,'' he said. Zubkov is expected to carry out a major reshuffle in the cabinet very soon, Russian media reports said.


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