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    DUMA TO CONSIDER PRIME MINISTER'S CANDIDACY ON MARCH 5TH

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    MOSCOW, March 1st, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - The Duma Speaker and leader of the United Russia, Boris Gryzlov, told journalists that the lower house would consider the prime minister's candidacy on Friday, March 5th.

    In his words, consultations between the potential prime minister and the Duma factions will begin tomorrow. "United Russia believes that Fradkov's candidacy should be supported," said Mr. Gryzlov.

    First Vice Speaker of the State Duma Lyubov Sliska said on Monday that Fradkov's candidacy had caused no protests in the United Russia. Many deputies have known Mikhail Fradkov for a long time and highly assess his professional and human qualities, said Sliska.

    On Thursday, the Duma Council will consider Fradkov's candidacy due to be discussed at the Duma's plenary session on Friday," specified the first vice speaker.

    After the appointment, the United Russia faction will conduct consultations with the new government leader on United Russia's candidates for the new government, said the first vice speaker.

    In her words, there are certain hopefuls but Sliska refused to name them yet.

    The first Vice Speaker of the Duma expressed the opinion that Fradkov's candidacy had been chosen by the president in advance. In her opinion, he will keep his post after the presidential elections and after the new composition of the government is approved.

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