MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of the United Russia party on Wednesday to discuss the formation of the new government. It was not reported which candidates were considered at the meeting.
However, several sources in the party told the Kommersant newspaper that the candidacy of Boris Gryzlov, Chairman of the State Duma, was discussed for the post of Prime Minister. Alexander Zhukov, Senior Deputy Chairman of the Duma, would replace him as the Chairman of the Duma. But, as this was a closed-door meeting and its participants refused to give more details, it remains unclear whether the President discussed his decision with the members of the party, or United Russia made a corresponding proposal to Mr. Putin.
At a meeting with the former Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin said one of the reasons for the dismissal of the Cabinet was his desire to take into account the opinion of a parliamentary majority when forming the government. To do so after the elections would require additional efforts and time, and the President decided to do it in advance, in order not to paralyze the work of the government for several months.
This statement came as a surprise because Mr. Putin did not mention his consultations with the Duma in his announcement about the dismissal of the government a day earlier. The latest statement means that the new Prime Minister will be directly linked to United Russia. Otherwise, Mr. Putin would not have stressed his consultations with a parliamentary majority, which United Russia won by a landslide less than two months ago, the Kommersant concludes.
According to the newspaper, events unfolded in the following way on Wednesday: Boris Gryzlov, his senior deputies Alexander Zhukov and Lyubov Sliska, and other top parliamentary figures - the leadership of United Russia - were summoned to the Kremlin at 18:00. Before going to the Kremlin, they gathered for an extraordinary meeting and decided to propose Boris Gryzlov for the post of Prime Minister. But it is unclear whether it was their own decision or the Kremlin’s choice.
Reportedly, the following proposals were discussed at the meeting with Vladimir Putin: Boris Gryzlov becomes Prime Minister of Russia, his senior deputy Alexander Zhukov replaces him as Chairman of the State Duma, and the Senior Deputy Chairman of the United Russia faction in the State Duma replaces Mr. Gryzlov as the Chairman of the party’s faction in the Duma, the Kommersant says.