Russia’s ruling party approves Mishustin as PM

FILE PHOTO: Mikhail Mishustin, head of the Russian Federal Tax Service, attends a session of the Moscow Financial Forum in Moscow, Russia September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, on Thursday unanimously approved Mikhail Mishustin’s candidacy as prime minister ahead of a formal parliamentary vote, Anastasia Kashevarova, an aide to parliament’s speaker said on social media. 

Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, is expected to vote on Mishustin’s candidacy later on Thursday. United Russia has a majority in the Duma.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes the day before that would give him scope to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency, and picked Mishustin as prime minister after Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet stepped down.

Vladimir Putin said that Russia faces enormous threats and in view of this the constitutional reform must ensure stability and strength of the Russian state and, at the same time, the flexibility necessary for the progressive evolution of society.

He also added that Russia must remain a “strong presidential republic”, specifying that the president must retain the right to dismiss governors and ministers, control over the military and security forces and should consult with the Federation Council when naming heads of so-called power ministries.