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    Medvedev considers several candidates for new head of human rights council

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is considering several candidates for the position of new presidential human rights council chief, the president's press secretary said.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is considering several candidates for the position of new presidential human rights council chief, the president's press secretary said.

    Former council head Ella Pamfilova, who has criticized the state of Russia's legal system and democratic institutions, announced her resignation earlier on Friday, proposing economist Alexander Auzan as her successor.

    "I would like to see Alexander Auzan in my place. I think that he is a worthy candidate," Pamfilova told RIA Novosti.

    Pamfilova was appointed the head of the presidential human rights commission, later transformed into a council, in July 2002.

    Medvedev has already accepted Pamfilova's resignation.

    Earlier this year, Pamfilova said that the absence of "qualitative changes" in human rights prohibit the growth of civil society in Russia.

    The independence of the Russian courts is still a "long way away from how it should be," she said, adding that there was much work to do on free elections.

    Pamfilova also complained that the country's political parties are "cut off from the people."

    "I am sorry that Ella has made this decision," Auzan said upon hearing about Pamfilova's resignation.

    The decision, however, had not come as a complete surprise, he said.

    "The previous year was very difficult, especially for Ella," he told RIA Novosti.

    He said that what Pamfilova had done for the commission and later for the council during the past eight years "is immense; her qualities are unique."

    On Pamfilova's decision to propose him as her successor, Auzan said "it is a shock to me."

    "I had absolutely different plans; I am a working professor... I am considering [the issue]," he said.

    Auzan is a PhD in Economics, a professor, and head of the Applied Institutional Economics Department at the Faculty of Economics at Moscow State University.

    One of the initiators of consumer protection issues in the Soviet Union, Auzan has been a member of the presidential human rights council since 2002.

     

    GORKY, July 30 (RIA Novosti)

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