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Putin for House of his liking

Moscow, Nov. 28 (Reuters): President Vladimir Putin urged Russians today to choose a parliament he can work with and back his allies in the United Russia party when they go to the polls on December 7.

Though most of its figures remain unknown and it professes little ideology other than backing Putin, United Russia leads most opinion polls with about 30 per cent support, six or seven points ahead of the Opposition communists. The party had a majority in the outgoing parliament and was able to ram home most Kremlin-backed legislation. Putin, almost certain to make his own bid for re-election next March, said the layout of forces in the next State Duma, or lower house, was crucial for the country’s fate.

“If the Duma is a workable body then the President will be able to achieve a lot together with parliament,” Putin told a television interview coinciding with the last working day of the outgoing chamber.

“But if its composition is such that it is absorbed by infighting and deputies vying for television spots to say things that are nice to hear but useless for voters, then the president will have his hands and legs bound.” The Kremlin leader then praised the current Duma for passing more laws than all past parliaments put together. United Russia’s precursor was created mere weeks before the last election in 1999. Its ranks have since been expanded, with Putin’s backing, by other centrist groups and is led by two high-profile cabinet ministers.

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