Source Pravda.Ru

Putin nominates financial monitor Viktor Zubkov for new prime minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin nominated Wednesday the head of the country's financial regulator, Viktor Zubkov, for the post of prime minister.

The lower house of parliament could vote in the new premier on Friday, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said.

Zubkov heads the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, and comes as an unexpected candidate following widely-circulated rumors that First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov would take the post, rian.ru reports.

As Pravda.ru previously reported Russian President Vladimir Putin has dissolved the Russian government on the request of the prime minister.

The dissolution is expected to result in a new head of government, who will be seen as Putin's choice to succeed him after he steps down next spring.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said he asked for the dissolution because with elections approaching, Putin needed to have a free hand to make decisions, including those concerning appointments.

Putin agreed: "You might be right that we must all think about how to structure the government so that it better suits the pre-election period and prepares the country for what will happen after the parliamentary and presidential elections."

Under the Constitution, Putin now has two weeks to propose a new head of government, which the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, then has a week to vote on. Russian news agencies said Fradkov would serve as acting prime minister until the vote, the AP reports.

Source: agencies