Communist leader threatens not to support Putin's candidacy for PM

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Moscow, Apr 9 (UNI) Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov today threatened that the party faction in the State Duma, lower house, might refuse to support Vladimir Putin's candidacy as the Russian prime minister.

Mr Zyuganov told influential daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that despite being the faction leader, he had neither participated in consultations on the PM candidacy nor had been informed about the strength of the future cabinet.

He said the faction would also reject Alexei Kudrin and Mikhail Shvydkoy as future Ministers. If they continue to work in Putin's cabinet, the communist faction won't vote for such Prime Minister, he added.

''As to the Communist faction, it won't put forward the candidates to the government. Let one party form the cabinet and be responsible for it. We have no intention to sink with them,'' Mr Zyuganov noted.

Earlier this week, the State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov said the lower house would approve outgoing President Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister on May 8 after President-elect Dmitry Medvedev is officially sworn-in on May 7.

Mr Gryzlov, who is the chairman of the ruling United Russia party, also said he will propose that Putin takes over the party's leadership.

United Russia controls two-thirds of the seats in parliament.

The party exerts enormous influence on many spheres of Russian life, through its administrative and financial means.

Putin has served eight years as Russia's President, but looks set to remain the predominant political figure in the country.

His allies proposed his new role as Prime Minister, which is not enshrined in the constitution, before the presidential elections. It looks like being anything but a symbolic position.

Some opposition members say the prospect of this taking place with virtually no parliamentary debate again confirms their fears for Russian democracy. But the Putin-Medvedev tandem looks solid.

As if to reinforce the aura of unassailability, shortly after they take their new jobs, both men will appear on the tribune on Red Square on May 9 to watch the Victory Day parade.

Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, the authorities this year are planning a serious demonstration of might, including, for the first time in more than a decade, mobile nuclear missile launchers, tanks and heavy weaponry.


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