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    Matviyenko resigns as St. Petersburg governor on road to speaker's job

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    St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko took a further step towards Russia's third-highest political post as the Russian parliament's upper house speaker on Monday, when she sent a letter of resignation from her current post to President Dmitry Medvedev.

    St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko took a further step towards Russia's third-highest political post as the Russian parliament's upper house speaker on Monday, when she sent a letter of resignation from her current post to President Dmitry Medvedev.

    "Here is a copy of the letter of resignation I sent today [on Monday] to the Russian president in connection with my victory at the municipal elections," Matviyenko said after she received her mandate.

    Matviyenko overwhelmingly won municipal elections on in St. Petersburg Sunday, all but securing her the post of Federation Council speaker.

    President Dmitry Medvedev has approved her resignation and appointed his envoy to St. Petersburg, Georgy Poltavchenko, as the city’s acting head.

    The 62 year-old United Russia party member, whose candidacy for the speaker's position in the Federation Council was backed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, gained 93.7 percent of the vote in the Petrovsky district elections and 94.5 percent in the Krasnenkaya Rechka district polls.

    She was required to win a seat as a deputy in a St Petersburg municipality in order to be eligible for the Federation Council speaker post. The ballot took place after several members resigned, prompting the elections.

    The opposition has declared Matviyenko’s elections fraudulent, as the registration of candidates for seats in the Petrovsky and Krasnenkaya Rechka district councils finished four days before Matviyenko announced on July 31 that she would run in those two districts. Critics say that made it impossible for opposition candidates to challenge her in the elections.

    The Federation Council speaker post became vacant in May, when longtime speaker Sergei Mironov, A Just Russia party leader, was ousted by the governing United Russia party after criticizing Matviyenko.

     

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