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    PRO-KREMLIN PARTY WELCOMES CABINET REFORM: DUMA SPEAKER

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 9, RIA NOVOSTI - The United Russia parliamentary group, which represents a pro-Putin political party of the same name, welcomes reformed government arrangements, says Boris Gryzlov, party leader and Speaker of the State Duma, parliament's lower house.

    An administrative reform is in full swing-suffice it to mention ministries getting bigger and fewer to thoroughly change federal executive patterns, he stressed to newsmen.

    "The President has mapped a route. Now it is up to a professional team the President trusts to follow that route. We support the President's policies, and we are sure professionals on the new Cabinet will make constructive partners to the State Duma." Mr. Gryzlov gladly points out an active part The United Russia is playing in government formation. Party members and those siding with it are notable in the new Cabinet, he remarked.

    Thus, Alexander Zhukov was appointed Deputy Prime Minister-a choice the Speaker described as "a strong move to confirm the economic orientation of the new Cabinet". As Mr. Gryzlov stressed, Alexander Zhukov authored the United Russia economic programme, which brought the party a landslide victory in the latest parliamentary election of December 7.

    "Responsible men and top-notch professionals"-Sergei Shoigu and Alexei Gordeyev, who retain their portfolios-are on the United Russia Supreme Council, the Speaker said with satisfaction. Some of new Cabinet members-Sergei Ivanov, Dmitri Kozak, Rashid Nurgaliev, Victor Khristenko and Yuri Chaika-are siding with the United Russia, he added.

    Government formation is going on. Heads of second- and third-level executive bodies, i.e. of federal services and agencies, will be appointed quite soon, said Boris Gryzlov.

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