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    FEDERATION COUNCIL HEAD EXPECTS MANY EX-CABINET MINISTERS TO ENTER A NEW CABINET

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    MOSCOW, March 1, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The new cabinet of ministers, which will be probably headed by Mikhail Fradkov, will certainly preserve continuity, speaker Sergei Mironov of the Federation Council (the upper chamber of Russian parliament) told RIA Novosti by telephone in an interview from Irkutsk (the centre of the Siberian federal district).

    "The new cabinet of ministers will retain continuity, although I'm not 100 percent sure," he said. "We'll also see new faces in the new cabinet," he believes.

    Sergei Mironov has no doubt that the State Duma (Russia's lower parliamentary chamber) will confirm the candidature of Mikhail Fradkov as the prime minister. He recalled that, before he officially submitted Fradkov's candidature in the State Duma, the president held a series of consultations with Duma deputies, providing them with "exhaustive information".

    The Federation Council, Mironov recalled, does not participate in the approval of the prime ministerial candidature. "We in the upper chamber are sure that it is the president's correct and upright choice," said the speaker.

    As to Mikhail Fradkov, Sergei Mironov said he has "much experience of work" in both the power structures and also the economic, foreign policy spheres. Mironov called positive the fact that for "the European Union Fradkov's candidature is not 'a pig in the poke'".

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