Gryzlov: Putin Vote on May 8

President Vladimir Putin will move into the prime minister's seat a day after his successor's inauguration, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said Tuesday.

President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, who is to be sworn in May 7, has said he would name Putin to the job.

Gryzlov said the Duma, in which pro-Kremlin party United Russia holds over two-thirds of the seats -- a constitutional majority -- would vote to approve Putin's candidacy for prime minister on May 8.

"Why postpone it?" he told reporters.

Under the constitution, the Cabinet steps down after a president's inauguration.

A president then nominates his choice for prime minister, and the Duma approves it by simple majority. Other Cabinet members are named by presidential decree.

"I think it is quite realistic there will be a situation where senators and deputies will gather [on May 8] and support the candidacy of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin," Interfax quoted Gryzlov as saying.

Previous presidents taking office have needed several days after their inauguration to have their choices for prime minister confirmed by the Duma.

Putin's quick approval as prime minister would allow him to watch the May 9 Victory Day parade on Red Square in his new capacity.

For the first time since the Soviet collapse, the parade will feature ballistic missiles, tanks, jets and other weapons in what will be a symbolic show of the country's resurgent military might.

Many observers expect that Putin will continue calling the shots, but others believe that the unprecedented system of tandem rule may lead to conflicts later when Medvedev grows more confident.

Medvedev has made a series of liberal statements, prompting expectations that he may ease some of the Kremlin's most repressive policies. But he also has reaffirmed his intention to continue Putin's course.

AP, Reuters