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Kremlin gives no comment on ex-finance minister’s call for early presidential elections

June 18, 2015, 13:52 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
The Kremlin spokesman said he didn’t know whether Kudrin had discussed this idea with Vladimir Putin
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Russia's ex-finance minister Alexey Kudrin and Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov

Russia's ex-finance minister Alexey Kudrin and Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov

© Artyom Korotayev/TASS

ST. PETERSBURG, June 18. /TASS/. The Kremlin is not commenting so far on a statement by ex-Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin on the possibility of moving the presidential elections scheduled for 2018 to an earlier date, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"No, I wouldn’t [comment] so far," Peskov said in response to a journalists’ question.

The Kremlin spokesman said "this is quite a new statement." "Certainly political scientists and circles will discuss somehow this idea along with all other ideas that are being discussed," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman said he didn’t know whether Kudrin had discussed this idea with President Vladimir Putin. "I don’t know. I can’t answer this question," he said.

The ex-finance minister said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday that the Russian authorities should hold early presidential elections to confirm their mandate for structural reforms in the country.

Russia should hold early presidential elections similar to what Kazakhstan did earlier this year when President Nursultan Nazarbayev was reelected as the head of state, the ex-finance minister said.

"Structural reforms mean not just writing a good document. What is needed is a political will, a team and the president who shares all these points," Kudrin said.

The former Soviet Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan can be used as an example. Kazakhstan held early presidential elections, after which re-elected President Nazarbayev announced a program of profound economic reforms called "100 Steps," the Russian ex-finance minister said.

"Now that we’re rescheduling the parliamentary elections to an earlier term, I believe we should also hold presidential elections early and announce a new program of reforms, which will be implemented easier with the mandate of confidence," Kudrin said.

The ex-finance minister spoke on many occasions that the Russian president’s record high rating should be used for implementing a program of profound economic and structural reforms, which would enable Russia to raise the competitiveness of its economy and improve the investment climate.

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