MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
Russia's newly sworn-in President Vladimir Putin today proposed his Kremlin predecessor Dmitry Medvedev
as the country's new prime minister under a job swap agreement first announced last year.
The lower house of parliament's speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Putin submitted Medvedev's name for confirmation shortly after taking the oath of office for a third Kremlin term.
The State Duma lower house is expected to hold a special session on Tuesday to consider Medvedev's candidacy.
Medvedev's confirmation is all but certain after both the ruling United Russia
party and the LDPR group of the veteran populist Vladimir Zhirinovsky promised to support Putin's choice.
Russian news agencies said Medvedev would begin holding formal consultations with party leaders ahead of a confirmation vote that may come as early as Tuesday evening.Putin sworn in as Russian president
Vladimir Putin on Monday took his oath of office to become Russia's president for a historic third mandate at a glittering ceremony inside the Kremlin.
Placing his hand on a copy of the constitution, Putin swore to "respect and protect the rights and freedoms of the people" and defend Russia's security as he officially took over from outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev.
"I swear as President of the Russian
Federation to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of the people and citizens, observe and protect the constitution of the Russian
Federation," he read.
In his oath, he pledged to "defend the sovereignty and independence and the security and integrity of the state and to faithfully serve the people." Yet activists accuse Putin of having sacrificed rights in the pursuit of stability throughout his 12-year domination of Russia
and fear he will crack down on the nascent protest movement in his new six-year term.
The ceremony took place in the Hall of the Order of St. Andrew in the Grand Kremlin Palace in front of a specially invited audience of the Russian
elite including his rarely-seen wife Lyudmila.
Putin already served as president for two terms between 2000 and 2008 but ceded the Kremlin to Medvedev four years ago after serving the maximum two mandates allowed.
Medvedev, widely mocked as a seat-warmer for the real Russian
number one who failed to implement real change, is expected later in the week to take on Putin's last job as prime minister.
Despite winning March 4 presidential elections with 63.6 percent of the vote, analysts say Putin now faces unprecedented challenges in his third Kremlin term after mass opposition protests and an explosion in Internet use.
Under Medvedev's presidency, the presidential mandate was extended to six years from four. If Putin stays in power the full term to 2018, he will equal Soviet leader Leonid Brezhenv as the longest serving Moscow leader since Stalin.