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City news, 13.12.2006 20:22

Putin nominates Matviyenko for St. Petersburg governor

Matviyenko President Vladimir Putin nominated Wednesday the incumbent governor of St. Petersburg, Valentina Matviyenko, for a second term.

The candidacy of Matviyenko, elected governor of Russia's second city in October 2003 to a four-year term, must be approved by the local parliament.

Matviyenko submitted her resignation to President Vladimir Putin last Wednesday, toward the end of her term. The move was seen as a maneuver to secure a presidential endorsement for a second term.

A Putin-sponsored 2004 law canceled gubernatorial elections and gave the president the right to nominate candidates. Nominees must receive the backing of more than 50% of regional lawmakers.

Rights groups in Russia and abroad have criticized the law as undemocratic.

In line with the new scheme, some regional leaders turn to the Russian president before the end of their terms, asking to be recommended to local parliaments.

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