MOSCOW, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) — Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday approved former President Dmitry Medvedev as the country’s new prime minister, just a day after Vladimir Putin took over as president to effectively exchange posts with Medvedev.
Putin presented the candidacy of Dmitry Medvedev to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, during a plenary session on Monday. “We all know Mr Medvedev as an experienced politician whose policy objectives include modernisation, as a man who sincerely loves Russia,” he said. “He launched crucial reforms in an open dialogue with civil society, reforms aimed at improving the efficiency of the state apparatus, on building a law enforcement and judicial system that can protect the public, defend the truth and justice.”
Putin announced in September 2011 that he would participate in the presidential election, which he won in March, to seek a third term as president. As a result, Medvedev would not seek re-election as president but instead continue as the country’s prime minister under the leadership of Putin.
During Tuesday’s vote, Medvedev received a total of 299 votes thanks to the support of the United Russia and Liberal Democrat factions. The Communists and A Just Russia factions voted against Medvedev’s candidacy, but they were never a threat as Medvedev’s United Russia alone holds 238 seats.
Putin first became acting president in December 1999 until he was elected for his first full term which began in May 2000. He won re-election in March 2004 and continued to serve in the country’s highest office until May 2008 when term limits prevented him from running for a third consecutive presidential term.
A pact between Putin and Medvedev allowed Medvedev to serve as president for one term, between 2008 and 2012, and Putin as prime minister during the same period. Thanks to changes made to the Constitution, Putin will now be able to serve another two consecutive six-year terms as president, significantly longer than the original four-year terms.
The re-election of Putin led to massive protests across the country, accusing him of widespread fraud and ballot stuffing. However, despite these protests, Putin remains fairly popular as conditions in Russia have improved since Putin’s first presidency. The average monthly wage has increased by ten times, life expectancy has increased for males, and the murder rate has fallen by nearly 45 percent.
International observers concluded that voting procedures were generally followed during the presidential election in March, although there was evidence of fraud and experts said the campaign conditions were ‘clearly skewed’ in favor of Putin. Putin won approximately 63.74 percent of the votes, followed by Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov and self-nominee businessman Mikhail Prokhorov who won 17.19 and 7.84 percent respectively.