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    Putin expects govt. changes will improve work of government - 1

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    President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he expects all ongoing changes within the government will contribute to more efficient work of the Cabinet during elections and beyond.

    (Adds paragraphs 3-5)

    BELGOROD, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he expects all ongoing changes within the government will contribute to more efficient work of the Cabinet during elections and beyond.

    "I expect that these actions [changes in the government] will make people focus more closely on implementing their service tasks, and that the whole system of power and governance in Russia will function without interruption during elections in December 2007 and March 2008, and afterwards," Putin told journalists.

    The president dismissed Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov Wednesday, following a request from the premier, and asked him to stay on as acting head of government until the State Duma votes in a new candidate.

    He also nominated Wednesday Viktor Zubkov, the head of the country's financial watchdog, as new prime minister.

    The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, will vote on the new premier designate's candidacy Friday.

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