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Russian PM Nominee Meets Lawmakers to Form New Government - 2004-03-02

Russian President Vladimir Putin's nominee for prime minister, Mikhail Fradkov, spent Tuesday in consultations aimed at forming a new government.

Mr. Fradkov spent the day at Russia's White House, the government headquarters, meeting with various factions of Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

During the course of the introductory meetings, he told reporters he would like to name a leading liberal economist, Alexander Zhukov, as his deputy.

Mr. Zhukov of the pro-Putin United Russia Party that controls parliament currently serves as first deputy speaker of the Duma.

United Russia expressed satisfaction, following its first meeting with the president's nominee for prime minister. But the leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, said his party would vote against Mr. Fradkov's nomination.

Mr. Zyuganov, whose faction is the second largest in the Duma, said it would be undesirable to support the president's nominee at a time when, according to Mr. Zyuganov, opposition presidential candidates are being denied equal rights and opportunities in the ongoing election campaign.