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State Duma to hold session Thursday to consider Mishustin as candidate for prime minister

The State Duma has one week to confirm the candidate nominated by the president

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Russia’s State Duma will hold a session on Thursday to consider the head of the Federal Taxation Service, Mikhail Mishustin, as the candidate for prime minister, the lower house of parliament said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Council of the State Duma has decided to make changes in Thursday’s timetable of the house in order to consider the candidate for prime minister," the press office said.

The Council’s session "agreed the procedure of discussions and preliminary consultations [on the candidate] at the factions. At 09.00 a.m. the United Russia will hold a meeting, followed by meetings by the LDPR, the CPRF and A Just Russia [factions]."

"A plenary session will consider the candidate [for prime minister] [later] on Thursday," the press office added.

On Wednesday night, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin convened an emergency session of the Council of the State Duma, attended by Mishustin. The Duma’s Council drafts the agenda of its plenary sessions, among other issues.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly (both houses of Russia’s parliament) put forward a proposal of amending Russia’s Constitution. In particular, he spoke about delegating to the State Duma the authority of approving the candidate for prime minister, along with the deputy prime ministers and ministers nominated by the new prime minister. Later in the day, during Putin’s meeting with the cabinet members, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said it was right amid those conditions for the government to resign in conformity with Article 117 of Russia’s Constitution.

The Russian president signed a decree ordering Medvedev to temporarily serve as prime minister. He also nominated Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Federal Taxation Service, as a candidate for prime minister.

The State Duma has one week to confirm the candidate nominated by the president. Under regulations of the lower house of parliament, the president or his plenipotentiary representative should formally present the candidate for prime minister to lawmakers. The candidate is to speak about their program on the future government’s key priorities and to give answers to lawmakers’ questions within at least 30 minutes. Next, representatives of the parliamentary factions voice their support to the nominee or give their reasons against and then hold a ballot.

Russia’s Constitutional Court said in its judgement dated by December 11, 1998 that the president can nominate at his discretion either the same candidate twice or three times or different candidates for Duma’s confirmation.

Should the State Duma turn down presidential nominees three times, the head of state appoints prime minister, dissolves the lower house of parliament and announces a snap election to the State Duma. In this case, the Constitution allows the president to dissolve the State Duma within the first year since a parliamentary election.