MOSCOW - Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has tendered his resignation papers following the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin today, seven weeks after garnering over 71 percent of votes cast at the March 14 presidential election in the country.
The move, expressed in Resolution No. 608R, is in accordance with Article 116 of the Russian Constitution and Article 35 of the Federal Law on Cabinet — both of which require the sitting cabinet to resign immediately after the inauguration of the new president that wins in the presidential election.
However, the current resignation is seen as only technical compliance with the above constitutional and other legal requirements as Putin made it clear in March that Fradkov’s premiership will continue after his inauguration. “The dissolution of this cabinet will only be a technical formality after my inauguration,” Putin said in one of interviews after appointing Fradkov to the premiership post on March 5.
Putin confirmed his intention later at a meeting with the now-acting premier in the Kremlin after the inauguration formalities, when he asked Fradkov and his Cabinet to continue their work in the usual regime. "I’ll propose your candidacy to the State Duma today,” Putin told Fradkov in a report carried by Itar-Tass. “I would like to request you and your ministers to continue executing your normal, usual functions till the confirmation of the new cabinet by the Duma,” he added.
Constitutionally, Putin has 14 days, or two weeks, to submit a new candidate to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, for the premiership post. It’s the Duma’s prerogative to confirm or reject such candidate. However, the confirmation of Fradkov, the second time in less than two months, is also expected to be a “technical formality” in the Duma. Pro-Kremlin United Russia has the constitutional majority in the Duma to rubberstamp all Putin’s desired decisions without much political debate or taking the minority’s traditionally incoherent opinions into consideration on most issues. For instance, 352 State Duma deputies, including all 300-plus United Russia legislators, supported Fradkov on his first confirmation bid on March 5. Fifty-eight deputies voted against and 24 deputies abstained. Constitutionally, a vote of 226 out of the Duma's 450 seats is required to confirm the premiership bid.