Russian Parliament Confirms Zubkov as Premier

Russia's parliament confirmed Viktor Zubkov as new prime minister Friday two days after he was nominated by President Vladimir Putin.

New PM Viktor Zubkov

The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, overwhelmingly approved Zubkov to replace the outgoing premier Mikhail Fradkov in a reshuffle that ignited speculation about who will stand in upcoming presidential elections.

There were 381 votes for, seven against and eight abstentions.

Zubkov, an almost unknown head of an anti-money laundering agency, shot to prominence on Wednesday when he was named by Putin to head the government. He told parliament that his priorities would be ensuring economic stability and boosting the defence industry.

The shake-up came in the run-up to December 2 parliamentary elections and less than six months from a March 2 presidential election when Putin is due to be replaced.

No heavyweight Russian political figure has thrown his hat in the ring. Most analysts believe the election will be won by whomever Putin endorses.

Source: AFP

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