MOSCOW – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced the first session of the country’s newly elected parliament, despite protests against alleged fraud during parliamentary elections earlier this month, Voice of America reported. Medvedev told a meeting of the leaders of parties that won seats in the State Duma, or lower house, that the first session will be held December 21. His announcement follows nationwide anti-government protests against the December 4 vote, which the opposition and observers say was rigged to favor the United Russia party.
The demonstrators called for the official results to be annulled and for a new election. Medvedev has said complaints about election violations should be examined carefully by courts and election officials. Earlier Tuesday, the owner of Kommersant Publishing, Alisher Usmanov, fired an editor and a senior manager in connection with what he described as a breach of ethics for its coverage of the election in the Kommersant Vlast weekly magazine.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will be United Russia’s candidate in the March presidential elections. Sergei Mironov, leader of the social democratic Just Russia party, and Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov say they will run against Putin.