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Lawmakers in two Russian Far East regions elect new governors

KHABAROVSK, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - Legislators in the Amur Region and the Kamchatka Territory in Russia's Far East voted in new governors Friday.

Legislators in the Amur Region, which shares a border with China, voted for Nikolai Kolesov, 50, after the previous governor was dismissed by the president for funding a soccer team by illegally hiking electricity prices. The date of the new governor's inauguration has not been fixed yet, but it may place later in the day.

President Vladimir Putin nominated Kolesov's candidacy two weeks after dismissing Leonid Korotkov on May 10. Prosecutors in the Amur Region accused Korotkov of abuse of office and negligence, and causing 123 million rubles ($4.75 million) in losses to the local budget. The former official could face large fines and up to seven years in prison.

Under federal laws, Kamchatka peninsula will be united into a single territory on July 1. The Kamchatka Region, which accounts for most of the peninsula, will incorporate the northern Koryak Autonomous Area into the new region.

Legislators in the Kamchatka peninsula's Koryak Autonomous Area approved Alexei Kuzmitsky for the post of governor of the future Kamchatka Territory, replacing regional governor Mikhail Mashkovets, who resigned before the expiry of his term. Local legislators proposed that the new governor assume power the day after unification, on July 2. Lawmakers in the Kamchatka Region gave their backing for Kuzmitsky Wednesday.

The Koryak legislature has 11 members, including three representatives of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, one Liberal Democrat, a member of the Party of Pensioners and five Communists.

Although the Communists blocked the vote Thursday saying Kuzmitsky lacked knowledge of the Koryak area, the president's nomination received the necessary seven votes.

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