Putin confidant to head Duma: ruling party

18th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's ruling party Saturday designated Sergei Naryshkin, a confidant of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and a former KGB official like him, to head the new lower house of parliament.

Putin's United Russia party won legislative elections held on December 4 with 49.3 percent, losing its constitutional majority and sparking public anger culminating in a series of mass protests across the country.

Naryshkin, 57, was named Duma head at a party meeting, United Russia said on its website.

The holder of an economics degree from the University of Saint Petersburg, then known as Leningrad, he served in the Soviet embassy in Belgium in the 1980s and then worked for the Saint Petersburg mayor's office.

United Russia won 238 seats in the 450-member Duma in the vote. The first sitting of the new Duma has been fixed for December 21.

According to Russian media and the website of radio network Echo of Moscow, Naryshkin is a former KGB official like Putin, who heads into his campaign to return to the Kremlin in a presidential vote in March.

© 2011 AFP

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