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State Duma to consider Mishustin for prime minister on Thursday — speaker

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. The State Duma will hold a plenary session on Thursday to consider Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Russian Federal Taxation Service, for the positon of prime minister, Speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, told reporters on Wednesday after the emergency session of the Duma’s Council.

"Starting from 9.00 a.m. [Moscow Time], the candidate for prime minister will be holding talks with political factions, members of the State Duma within the framework of the procedure preceding [the State Duma’s] confirmation [of the nominee]. At 2.00 p.m., we will be discussing the agenda and amending it. We have decided to consider this issue at the plenary session," Volodin said.

According to the speaker, all members of the lower house will have a chance to ask Mishustin questions before the plenary session.

"After that, we will be considering the nominee at the plenary session in conformity with the procedure, which the session of the Council has just approved," the speaker added.

Volodin pointed out that Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative to the State Duma Garry Minkh will present the candidate at the lower house.

Government resignation

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.

Appointment procedure for candidates

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.