Sunday, December 30, 2007

Putin Wants Smooth Transition of Power

In an address on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the government to work for a smooth transition of power when he leaves presidency in 2008.

Putin again talked about the possibility of his taking over the role of prime minister. His chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev, has promised to name Putin prime minister should he win the March 2 presidential elections.

Critics have said this is merely ploy for Putin to maintain power once his presidency ends. But Putin again pledged not to interfere with the current division of power in Russia. Under the constitution, much of the political power in the country lies with the president; the prime minister’s role is limited largely to domestic affairs. Putin has said his goal as prime minister is to ensure that Russia remains stable and continues to grow. He announced that Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.6 percent in 2007, and that the country has a budget surplus.

Meanwhile, the Times of London took the journalistic low-road in talking about some new members of the Russian Duma. The Times noted the seating of several prominent Russian women athletes in the new parliament under the headline “Putin’s Babes Sex Up Duma.” According to the Times Putin complained, “there were not enough beautiful women in his United Russia party.”
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